Eating health: Attitudes, behavior, and barriers to eating healthy across race in four Philadelphia neighborhoods

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Advisors: Rickie O. Brawer, PhD MPH, Office to Advance Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Abbie Santana, MSPH--Family & Community Medicine Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia PA


Our goal is to help The Philadelphia Urban Food and Fitness Alliance (PUFFA) conduct community assessments to facilitate development of an action plan that addresses community access to local and healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. This project aims to determine whether attitudes, behavior, and barriers to consumption of fruits and vegetables differ across race within four Philadelphia communities in North, South, and West Philadelphia, and Bridesburg/Kensington. These were selected using community-based participatory approaches and analysis of neighborhood assets, needs, health disparities, and cultural characteristics. Lead organizations within these regions were responsible for recruiting youth (14- 18 years) who were primarily responsible for conducting the assessment surveys. Surveys were designed to identify assets, attitudes, behaviors and preferences of the community towards nutritional and physical activities. Preliminary results indicate 750 surveys were obtained, of which 667 surveys were from the target areas. 60 (9.00%) participants were identified as White; 442 (66.27%) as Black; 83 (12.44%) as Hispanic; 50 (7.50%) as Asian. The communities had similar barriers to consumption of fruits and vegetables, agreed that eating fruits and vegetables had an impact on an individual’s health, and were willing to increase consumption at a lower cost. Differences were seen across consumption patterns, willingness to join food co-ops, buy from a community garden, pay for membership to purchase cheaper fruits and vegetables, and blocks individuals were willing to walk to buy healthy food in their neighborhood. These conclusions will be integrated into an action plan to create a healthier more vibrant Philadelphia.