Online Program

Food access and transportation policy in south los angeles: Soliciting the community's needs and wants

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nicholas Gorman, MPH, Ed.D., School of Nursing, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
Giulia Pasciuto, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Mark Vallianatos, B.A., J.D., Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Heng Lam Foong, MS, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: Residents of South Los Angeles face a series of challenges in accessing healthy foods, including the highest rates of poverty in the county and dependency on a transit system ill equipped for reaching and transporting groceries. Despite efforts to bring grocery stores to the area, the ratio of grocery stores to residents remains 1:22,156, and concerns regarding food quality, the advertising landscape, store conditions, and transportation accessibility remain. Methods: Three community meetings were held with over 90 South Los Angeles community residents in order to present a menu of potential food access policy interventions and to gauge their preferences. To help put community preferences in context, project staff visited a random sample of 90 non-restaurant food retailers in a predefined region of the county in order to collect firsthand data on factors related to healthy food access. Results: Community meetings with residents highlighted and ranked 9 best practices policy interventions with widespread support in the community. The store surveys helped to contextualize these preferences by describing a constellation of barriers to healthy food access in South Los Angeles. These barriers included a disproportionately high number of liquor stores, low availability of fresh produce, frequent marketing of expired foods, prevalent advertising for unhealthy products, limited accessibility through the existing public transportation system, and store conditions including moldy produce, insect infestations, and foul odors. Discussion: By examining the intersection between documented barriers to healthy food access and community supported interventions, several promising venues for policy intervention and further research are revealed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss nine best practices food access policy interventions for urban food deserts. Identify community policy priorities expressed by stakeholders living in South Los Angeles. Describe the food environment experienced by residents in South Los Angeles. Analyze the relationship between conditions at non-restaurant food retail stores and the community's support for various policy interventions.

Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a research consultant on multiple grant-funded projects focussing on the topics of nutrition, advocacy, and social justice. My own research in public health also includes obesity and the role of the built environment on health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.