Research indicates that individuals who have access to healthy food tend to eat healthier. Food environments that do not have access to healthy food have been shown to be a leading cause of obesity in the United States. Major health consequences of obesity include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and some cancers. The availability of healthy foods can be determined by median household income, with income levels being shown to affect access to healthy foods in local areas. However, no study has shown if this phenomenon is prevalent across the United States. Our cross-sectional study seeks to determine if the socioeconomic level of counties affects access to healthier food options across the United States. The study will include approximately 380 grocery stores nationwide with 190 grocery stores from high-income counties and 190 grocery stores from low-income counties. The counties are separated by the top and bottom 25th percentile of national household income levels and the middle-income household levels are excluded. Data collection will utilize the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores (NEMS-S). Convenience sampling of the study will be dependent on researchers access and ability to travel their choice of counties from an eligible list of high and low income counties. Researchers will be recruited from an informational flyer posted in professional public health research groups on LinkedIn. The eligibility of researchers is determined by their responses to an eleven question Qualtrics recruitment survey. Qualified researchers recruited from LinkedIn will conduct the NEMS-S to measure and evaluate food availability, price, and quality in grocery stores. Proposed quantitative analyses of NEMS-S scores will utilize SPSS software by comparing high and low income counties using t-tests. This nation-wide analysis should be completed by winter of 2014.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ginger_cameron/3/