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Ethn Dis. 2006 Winter;16(1):275-80.

Fruit and vegetable access differs by community racial composition and socioeconomic position in Detroit, Michigan.

Author information

  • 1University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute for Health Research and Policy, Chicago, IL 60608, USA. szenk@uic.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the availability, selection, quality, and price of fresh fruit and vegetables at food stores in four Detroit-area communities: 1) predominately African-American, low socioeconomic position (SEP); 2) racially heterogeneous, low SEP; 3) predominately African-American, middle SEP; and 4) racially heterogeneous, middle SEP.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional observational survey, conducted fall 2002.

SETTING:

Detroit, Michigan

SAMPLE:

Overall, 304 food stores located in the four communities were evaluated: chain grocery, large independent grocery, "mom-and-pop" grocery, specialty (meat, fruit and vegetable markets), convenience without gasoline, and liquor stores.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Availability was indicated by whether a store carried fresh fruit or vegetables, selection was based on a count of 80 fruit and vegetables, quality was evaluated according to USDA guidelines for a subset of 20 fruit and vegetables, and price was assessed for 20 fruit and vegetables by using the lowest-cost method.

RESULTS:

Mean quality of fresh produce was significantly lower in the predominately African-American, low-SEP community than in the racially heterogeneous, middle-SEP community. Differences in the types of stores present only partially explained this quality differential. The predominately African-American, low-SEP community had more than four times more liquor stores and fewer grocery stores per 100,000 residents than the racially heterogeneous, middle-SEP community. Mean overall selection and price of fresh produce at stores did not differ among communities.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increasing access to high-quality fresh produce in low-income communities of color is a critical first step toward improving health through better dietary practices in this population.

PMID:
16599383
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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