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Food Access and Its Relationship to Perceived Walkability, Safety, and Social Cohesion

Download this publicationUnderstanding social inequalities in terms of neighborhood characteristics and the context to which individuals belong is important for reducing disparities. This article describes how perceptions of food access are related to three physical and social environmental factors: perceived neighborhood walkability, safety, and social cohesion. A cross-sectional survey was conducted of a random sample of 1,500 households in Springfield, Missouri. The main outcome measures were ease of purchase, affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables (FVs) and low-fat products (LFPs). Overall 63% of respondents reported consuming less than five serving of FVs daily in the past month. Most did agree is was easy to purchase FVs and LFPs. High walkability, low crime, and high social cohesion were significantly associated with having greater selection of FVs. Given that healthy food access is an important component to improving health outcomes, understanding how to alter environmental features that influence behaviors like eating is important.
Authors: Tamara Calise, Wendy Chow, Amanda Ryder, Chloe Wingerter

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