"Previous research assumes that most people shop within their own census tract or ZIP code," Ford said. "However, other studies have found that most people shop outside of their census tract. By examining the number of stores within a 1- to 3-mile radius of these women's homes, we were able to get a more accurate and realistic assessment of supermarket availability."
To be eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, a recipient must be a pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum woman with children younger than 5 years old and a household income less than 185 percent of the federally designated poverty level. The researchers' data included each woman's body mass index.
The study included only socioeconomically disadvantaged women because they are at greater risk of obesity than are wealthier women. They also are likely to be more dependent on nearby grocery stores and supermarkets because of limited transportation options and fewer economic resources, Ford said.
The researchers looked at the availability of food stores -- specifically convenience and grocery stores and supermarkets -- located within a radius of 1, 3 or 5 miles of the women's residences. The women's homes also were categorized as being in a rural, micropolitan or metropolitan area. The first item the researchers examined was the availability of these stores in the different areas.
The findings showed significant geographic disparities regarding the availability of supermarkets. However, the majority of the women lived within 1 mile of a small grocery store. Dzewaltowski said this is important because previous studies have indicated that rural areas are food deserts where low-income residents have to travel far to access healthful foods.
The number and types of stores ava
|Contact: David Dzewaltowski|
Kansas State University