The increasing rates of obesity in the U.S. are causing poor diet related outcomes, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Better access to healthier foods has been shown to increase healthier food intake and prevent chronic diseases (CDC, 2017). It is important to study trends in consumer behaviors to build programs for disease prevention. This study analyzed a subset of data from a consumer survey collected through the Partnerships to Improve Community Health Initiative (PICH). It examined trends in fruit and vegetable consumption, eating behaviors, and food purchasing habits among patrons of corner stores and attendees of community events.
A total of 367 community residents were surveyed at corner stores and community events, 61.6% were female, 38.4% were male, 45-64 years old (42.3%), and Black/African American (90.5%). The target communities were Westside, Eastside, Southbridge, and parts of New Castle County, DE. A 17-item questionnaire was utilized. One way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and t-tests were used to compare fruit and vegetable intake across predictor variables of age, race/ethnicity, and community/neighborhood of residence.
Females were more likely than males to report that they ate fruit 4 or more times per day. There was an association between gender and vegetable consumption. Males were more likely to report that they did not eat vegetables during the past 7 days. Seniors ages 65 years old and above were the most likely to eat more fruits and vegetables to be healthier. 2016 respondents had a statistically higher percentage of respondents who consumed fruit in the past 7 days compared to 2015 respondents.
Increasing access to healthy food outlets is necessary to prevent chronic diseases. Social marketing campaigns should prioritize communities that are unaware of healthy food outlets. Corner stores and farmers’ markets are crucial to increase the availability of affordable nutritious foods. Implementing effective strategies and interventions can help improve access to healthy food or beverage options.
Choi, Connie, "Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Initiative on Nutrition in Wilmington, DE: An Assessment of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption" (2017). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 204.