Baseline assessment of a healthy corner store initiative: Associations between food store environments, shopping patterns, customer purchases, and dietary intake in eastern North Carolina

Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts, Qiang Wu, Kimberly P. Truesdale, Melissa N. Laska, Taras Grinchak, Jared T. McGuirt, Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, Ronny A. Bell, Alice S. Ammerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2016, the North Carolina (NC) Legislature allocated $250,000 to the NC Department of Agriculture, to identify and equip small food retailers to stock healthier foods and beverages in eastern NC food deserts (the NC Healthy Food Small Retailer Program, HFSRP). The purpose of this study was to examine associations between food store environments, shopping patterns, customer purchases, and dietary consumption among corner store customers. We surveyed 479 customers in 16 corner stores regarding demographics, food purchased, shopping patterns, and self-reported fruit, vegetable, and soda consumption. We objectively assessed fruit and vegetable consumption using a non-invasive reflection spectroscopy device to measure skin carotenoids. We examined associations between variables of interest, using Pearson’s correlation coefficients and adjusted linear regression analyses. A majority (66%) of participants were African American, with a mean age of 43 years, and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 kg/m2. There were no significant associations between the healthfulness of food store offerings, customer purchases, or dietary consumption. Participants who said they had purchased fruits and vegetables at the store previously reported higher produce intake (5.70 (4.29) vs. 4.60 (3.28) servings per day, p = 0.021) versus those who had not previously purchased fresh produce. The NC Legislature has allocated another $250,000 to the HFSRP for the 2018 fiscal year. Thus, evaluation results will be important to inform future healthy corner store policies and initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1189
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This study was supported by grant 59-5000-4-0062 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Duke-UNC Behavioral Economics and Choice Research Center New Perspectives Fellowship), the Brody Brothers Endowment Fund, and the East Carolina University Departments of Public Health and Biostatistics. We also acknowledge Werner Gellermann (Longevity Link), and East Carolina University Graduate Assistants Cameron Howell, Archana Kaur, and Mary Jane Lyonnais. We did not specifically receive funding for publishing in open access journals, but do have funding available.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Convenience store
  • Diet
  • Food availability
  • Food environment
  • Food store

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