Complexity of Food Environments and Food Access in African American Communities in Chicago: Implications for Promoting Health Equity
- Background: African Americans are disproportionately at risk for diet-related chronic conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Evidence suggests that neighborhood food environments play an important role in shaping diets at the individual level. However, many previous studies have not captured the complexity of the dynamic nature of the food-related environments that impact African American’s health.
- Methodology: This study uses a case study approach including individual interviews, participant observations, environmental audits, and geographic information systems collected across multiple studies to explore the impact of food environments on dietary practices in a sample of 50 African-American caregivers/parents with young children residing on the south side of Chicago. In addition to environmental access, data collection also explored issues such as food insecurity, household food management, and food marketing. A modified version of constant comparative analysis was used to understand emergent themes in relation to the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Model, a theoretical framework to explain obesity risk in African American communities.
- Results: Although many African American parents/caregivers reported that they had limited access to healthy food retail and food options in their communities, they engaged in diverse asset-based strategies to acquire food for their families and manage household food supplies. Families also reported how other social and economic factors further contributed to food related inequities in African American communities including poverty, stress, and racism.
- Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest the need for engaging community residents in advocacy efforts for improving food environments in low-income and African American neighborhoods.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Discuss how neighborhood food environments contribute to diet-related racial/socioeconomic health disparities in Chicago
Keyword(s): African American, Nutrition
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I lead the data collection and data analysis on this project.
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.