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Am J Public Health. 2010 Nov;100(11):2156-62. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.192757. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Using geographic information systems and local food store data in California's low-income neighborhoods to inform community initiatives and resources.

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  • 1Network for a Healthy California, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA 95899-7377, USA.



We examined conditions in California low-income neighborhoods that affect obesity to inform program planning, nutrition education, community participation, investment of resources, and involvement of stakeholders.


Staff members in 18 local health departments were trained to use an online geographic information system (GIS) and conduct field surveys. GIS data were aggregated from 68 low-income neighborhoods of 1 or more census tracts. Data were collected in 2007 to 2009 from 473 grocery stores in 62 neighborhoods.


Thirty-one percent of neighborhoods mapped had no supermarket within any of their census tract boundaries, but health department staff members estimated that 74.2% of residents had access to a large grocery store within 1 mile. Eighty-one percent of small markets sold produce, and 67.6% offered 4 or more types of fresh vegetables.


Small markets and corner stores in California's low-income neighborhoods often have fresh produce available for sale. Stores providing healthy options in typically underserved areas can be part of community efforts to promote healthy eating behaviors.

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