Online Program

Disparities in the food store environment: Evidence from the Assessing the Nutrition Environment in Wisconsin Communities (ANEWC) study

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Jennifer Valdivia Espino, BS, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Amy Meinen, MPH, RD, UW Madison Department of Family Medicne, Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Network, Madison, WI
Anne Escaron, PhD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Anne Roubal, MS, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
F. Javier Nieto, MD, MPH, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Kristen Malecki, PhD, MPH, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI

Previous research has found disparities in access to food stores by income and race. This study examines food store environment disparities by gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, income, and urbanicity among a statewide sample of Wisconsin adults.


A semi-random sample (N=380) was selected from the 2009-2010 Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, a population-based survey of Wisconsin adults. Trained staff enumerated food stores located in 2- and 5- mile buffer areas surrounding participants’ residences in urban and rural areas, respectively. Using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores (NEMS-S), food environment scores were calculated for each store. The number of food stores and average NEMS-S scores were computed for each buffer and linked to individual-level data. Unadjusted and adjusted linear regression models estimated the impact of demographic variables on the number of stores and NEM-S scores.


Individuals 18-30 years and those with a college education had more favorable NEMS subscores than their older and less educated counterparts. Individuals living below the poverty level and those living in urban areas were surrounded by greater numbers of food stores compared to higher income individuals and rural residents. However, the two former demographic groups had lower availability and quality subscores. Some of these differences attenuated or disappeared in adjusted analyses.


Food store environment disparities exist among Wisconsin adults by age, education, income, and urbanicity. The impact of the inequitable distribution of access, availability, quality, and price requires more research for it to be successfully addressed by future health policies.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Name aspects of the food environment measured within food stores. Describe differences in the food environment by gender, age, income, education, minority status, and/or urbanicity.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am predoctoral trainee funded by a TEAM-Science, an NIH Initiative for Maximizing Student Development that supports students conducting disparities research. My research broadly focuses on child health, obesity, and the food environment with special attention to the growing U.S. Latino population. For the past two years I have been a member of the research team that conducted this study and assisted in the writing and analyses of related papers.
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.