individual-level dietary behavior among racial/ethnic minority groups in the US
is influenced by cultural food preferences and socioeconomic position, few
studies of the food store environment have simultaneously examined both
factors. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the
availability of culturally specific fruits and vegetables for African
Americans and Latinos by levels of neighborhood deprivation. The 5 small
central Illinois cities selected for the study have exhibited increasing
numbers of both racial/ ethnic groups in the last decade. Methods: A validated
audit tool was used to survey 118 food stores in 2008. Census 2000 block group
data was used to create a neighborhood deprivation index (categorized as low,
medium, and high) based on socioeconomic characteristics using principal
component analysis. Statistical analyses were performed in SPSS version 17.0 to
determine whether the availability of culturally specific fruits and vegetables
(n = 31) varied by neighborhood levels of deprivation and store type. Results: Fewer
than 50% of neighborhoods carried culturally specific fruits and vegetables,
with the lowest availability found in low deprivation neighborhoods (p < 0.05). Culturally specific fruits
and vegetables were most often found in neighborhoods with medium levels of
deprivation, and in grocery stores (p <
0.05). Latino fruits and vegetables were less likely to be found across
neighborhoods or in stores, compared to African-American fruits and vegetables.
Conclusions: The limited availability of culturally specific fruits and
vegetables for African Americans and Latinos highlights potential environmental
challenges with adherence to daily dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable
consumption in these groups.
Cite this paper
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