"She knew that UGA graduate students with similar interests in food environments needed data to analyze for their theses and dissertations, so a very nice collaboration developed to complete this project," Betterley said.
The studies examined 48 neighborhoods in Leon County, Fla., whose residents were identified as having high rates of childhood obesity and diet-related deaths. Using Geographic Information System technology and a registry of food stores, the distribution of food stores across neighborhood racial composition, wealth and rurality were examined. Comprehensive food store surveys were used to access the price and availability of healthy foods by food store type, neighborhood income level and racial composition.
Accessibility of SNAP-accepting stores
Results from the first-ever study of food deserts in relation to food assistance benefits accepting stores will be published by UGA researchers in the March issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
"The size and types of stores available may have considerable influence on what people purchase and consume, ultimately influencing their health," said Samantha Rigby, a former UGA graduate student and study co-author. "Access to supermarkets has been shown to promote healthful food choices, and these stores are the most likely type of food store to provide the greatest variety of foods at the lowest prices."
SNAP, formerly the Food Stamps Program, provides food assistance to more than 43 million Americans a month. Florida is home to 2.9 million recipients; 10 percent of the population in the study area relies on assistance for food.
"While they may qualify for financial awards, there are no accessible stores that accept SNAP, or stores with enough variety in foods to fully utilize their benefits," Rigby said.
Primarily black neighborhoods tend to have le
|Contact: Jung Sun Lee|
University of Georgia