Online Program

An Analysis of Healthy Food Access in Chicagoland area from 2007-2014

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Michelle Bradley, MPH, CCRP, Institute of Public Health and Medicine, Center for Translational Metabolism and Health, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Lack of equity in food access in the Chicagoland area may contribute to health disparities among Chicagoans that reside in communities with insufficient access to healthy food sources.  Major factors that contribute to individuals’ access to healthy foods include: (1) proximity to supermarkets; (2) segregation of racial and ethnic communities; (3) socioeconomic differences across communities; and (4) differences in chain versus non-chain stores, including factors associated with cost and food availability (Walker et al, 2010).  In Chicago, African Americans living in communities impacted by food scarcity have to travel greater distances to access any type of grocery store with healthy food options (Gallagher, 2006).  Furthermore, the ratio of fast-food stores per square mile is six times higher in predominately African American neighborhoods versus predominately White neighborhoods (Block, 2004). We conducted a spatio-temporal analysis to identify healthy food access (and food deserts) across urban regions of seven counties of the metropolitan Chicagoland area in 2007, 2011, and 2014. Supermarket locations identified by curated datasets were validated by comparison and field verification. Mean street network distance to supermarkets for each Census tract was calculated using geospatial raster techniques. After accounting for population distribution and boundary affects, a spatial cluster analysis identified areas with low and high food access with a p value <0.01. High proportion of African American residents, households in poverty, and children in poverty in low food access areas emerged as consistent trends in all exploratory spatial analyses across all years. Final results suggest a stable food oasis in the Northern region of Chicago, even after the closure of dozens of supermarkets in early 2014, and persistently vulnerable, low food access areas in the Southern and Western regions of Chicago.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define a food desert. Identify the major factors that contribute to food deserts in Chicago. Define what a spatio-temporal analysis is in GIS mapping. Describe how residential location impacts an residents ability to access healthy food sources.

Keyword(s): Food Security, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research coordinator working on federally funded grants focused on chronic kidney disease prevention. Our research focuses on the impact diet has on kidney disease development and disease outcomes. Among our research interests has been the impact food environments has on health outcomes.
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.