Examining consumer nutrition environment in food desert and food swamp neighborhoods

Authors: He Jin*, Texas State University - San Marcos, Yongmei Lu , Texas State Univeristy - San Marcos
Topics: Applied Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: food desert, food swamp, food oasis, food availability, food price, food quality and labelling, in-store survey, m-TxNEA-S instrument
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Committee Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Residents from Austin, Texas suffer from a high prevalence of obesity. Many studies have linked obesity to retail food environment, especially to consumer nutrition environment (e.g., food availability, price, quality, and labelling). Studies on the consumer nutrition environment often concern whether people from deprived neighborhoods and minority communities have lower availability of healthy foods, higher food price, and lower food quality. Therefore, most of studies have explored the consumer nutrition environment in different store types in two contrasting neighborhoods (i.e., high-income vs. low-income or white vs. African American (or Hispanic) neighborhoods). As food insecurity has been emerging as an impelling issue in U.S, however, to date no studies have explored the consumer nutrition environment in food insecure vs. food secure neighborhoods. This research aims to investigate consumer nutrition environment in three selected neighborhoods (e.g., food desert, food swamp, and food oasis) in Austin, Texas. An in-store audit was conducted at 46 grocery stores & supermarkets and convenience stores. Two-way ANOVA analysis was utilized to compare the differences between store type and neighborhood. The results show that food desert neighborhood was in least healthy nutrition environment.However, grocery stores from food swamp neighborhood had the healthiest nutrition environment. There was no significant difference for food price, quality, and labelling across store type in the three neighborhoods. This research indicates that it must investigate consumer nutrition environment to delineate food deserts and food swamps in order to tackle food insecurity issue in Texas.

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