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Advisor: R Brawer, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA.


Food deserts are generally defined as areas of high poverty and low access to large grocery stores or supermarkets. Previous qualitative studies have focused on shoppers’ perceptions when purchasing fruits and vegetables, and the results show that the relationships between these multiple factors are complex. The purpose of this study is to quantitatively analyze the relationship between household and food environment characteristics, and fruit and vegetable consumption among residents of urban food deserts (N = 685). A multiple regression analysis was conducted to predict fruit and vegetable consumption from participant age, number of working household vehicles, and participants’ perceptions of food price, food quality, store quality and store safety. The full regression model was not statistically significant and the total variance explained by the model as a whole was 1.3%, F(6, 616) = 1.34, p = 0.238. Only two variables, store safety (β = -0.170, p = 0.009) and store quality (β = 0.139, p = 0.042), made unique statistically significant contributions to the model and they are strongly correlated (0.773, p < 0.05). Unlike previous studies which linked participants’ concerns about personal safety with their willingness to visit certain establishments, this analysis found an inverse relationship between store safety, and fruit and vegetable consumption. As participants felt safer traveling to their neighborhood store, their fruit and vegetable consumption tended to decrease. This study also found that as store quality increased, fruit and vegetable consumption increased as well, which is supported by previous work.

Presentation: 18 minutes