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Community Nutrition Environments: People's perceptions of the grocery store environment in the eastern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh

Kumar, Supriya (2009) Community Nutrition Environments: People's perceptions of the grocery store environment in the eastern neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Multiple studies have shown that African Americans have less access than do Whites tohealthy food in many cities in the US. Less is known, however, about how African Americansperceive their neighborhood nutrition environment, and how this affects their diet. Westudied people's perceptions of their access to healthy food in majority-African Americanneighborhoods in and around the city of Pittsburgh using a mixed methods approach. Supermarket addresses were geocoded using ArcGIS and the location of supermarkets with respectto majority-African American census tracts was determined. A convenience sample of 236people completed a self-administered survey, and two focus groups (n=14) were conducted.Results demonstrate that whereas some Black neighborhoods are proximal to supermarkets,others are two miles or more away. People's perceptions of the quality of food and serviceavailable to them are strongly determined by the identity of the store at which they shop.Satisfaction with the quality of food available in the primary grocery store is positively correlated with self-efficacy (confidence in their ability) to find healthy food; it is correlated with self-efficacy to afford healthy food in high-income, but not in low-income respondents. Focus group data suggest that while African Americans perceive that the quality of food and service in supermarkets serving the Black community are worse than at branches of the same chain that serve white neighborhoods, they continue to frequent these "Black Identified" supermarkets because of loyalty to Black ownership of some stores, a perceived fear that failure to support stores in their neighborhoods may result in closure, as well as because of the easy access to "Jitneys" (unofficial taxis), which make regular trips to these supermarkets. Weconclude that access to grocery stores that afford a high level of satisfaction with the quality and selection of produce is a predictor of self-efficacy to engage in a healthy diet. Every effort must be made to ensure that stores that cater to African Americans address the perceptions and needs of their clients and provide an environment that enables healthy eating: this will help prevent chronic disease, an objective of huge public health significance.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairQuinn, Sandra
Committee MemberKriska, AndreaKriskaA@edc.pitt.eduAKY
Committee MemberThomas,
Date: 28 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 10 April 2009
Approval Date: 28 September 2009
Submission Date: 8 June 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: African American; Allegheny County; Black; community; dietary behavior; grocery store; Healthy Black Family Project; healthy food; nutrition; Pittsburgh; quality of food; self-efficacy; social determinants of health; stages of change; supermarket; census tract; health disparities; neighborhood; CMH; inequalities
Other ID:, etd-06082009-161703
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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