Cover: What Is Associated with Changes in Food Security Among Low-Income Residents of a Former Food Desert?

What Is Associated with Changes in Food Security Among Low-Income Residents of a Former Food Desert?

Published in: Nutrients, Volume 14, Issue 24, (2022). doi: 10.3390/nu14245242

Posted on rand.org May 16, 2023

by Jonathan H. Cantor, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Gerald P. Hunter, Matthew D. Baird, Andrea S. Richardson, Sameer M. Siddiqi, Tamara Dubowitz

Lack of geographic access to foods has been postulated as a cause for food insecurity, which has been linked to poor nutrition, obesity, and chronic disease. Building on an established cohort of randomly selected households from a low-income, predominantly Black neighborhood, we examined household food security, distance to where study participants reported doing their major food shopping, and prices at stores where they shopped. Data from the Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Eating, Shopping, and Health study for years 2011, 2014 and 2018 was limited to residents of the neighborhood that began as a food desert (i.e., low access to healthy foods), but acquired a full-service supermarket in 2013. We calculated descriptive statistics and compared study participants in the former food desert neighborhood whose food security improved to those whose food security did not improve across survey waves. We estimated cross sectional linear regressions using all waves of data to assess food security level among study participants. Distance to major food shopping store was positively associated with food security (p<0.05) while food-store prices were not significantly associated with food security. Findings suggest that for predominantly low-income residents, food secure individuals traveled further for their major food shopping.

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