Exploring the effects of food accessibility in various spatial contextual units on grocery food shopping behaviors

Authors: Jingjing Li*, Drexel University, Changjoo Kim, University of Cincinnati
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: food accessibility, grocery patterns, neighborhood effects, activity spaces, spatial contextual unit
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 0, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study aimed to compare healthy food accessibility in various spatial contextual units and examine their impacts on actual grocery shopping patterns. We defined two types of spatial contextual units to measure food environment: residential neighborhood and activity space. An individual's residential neighborhood was represented by a street network buffer around his/her residence. The buffer ranges included 1-mile, 2-mile, and 3-mile. An individual's activity space was constructed using one standard deviational ellipse. Healthy food accessibility was defined as the supermarket density. We employed descriptive statistics and spearman’s rank correlation to compare healthy food accessibility across residential neighborhoods and activity spaces. We further compared the percentage of participants whose grocery shopping destinations were inside the corresponding spatial unit among the four spatial contexts. Linear mixed models were used to examine the associations of grocery distance from origin with healthy food accessibility and sociodemographic characteristics across various spatial contextual units. The results showed that (1) grocery distance from origin varied significantly by age, mode of transportation, and type of origin; (2) higher healthy food accessibility significantly reduces grocery distance from origin; (3) Activity space measure of food accessibility showed the strongest impact on grocery patterns. This study advances food environment research as it reconciles the differences between food accessibility and where people visit groceries for healthy foods. Our findings highlight future research need on investigating the the spatial contextual effects on the associations of food accessibility and actual grocery shopping patterns.

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