Rural environments may present unique challenges for food access compared to urban areas. Eight hundred and seventy food stores were surveyed based on the availability of foods in 14 different food categories in an 8700-square-mile area of Upstate New York. Distances from these stores to 555 area households were calculated. A large number of nontraditional food stores constituted this rural food environment, and these stores were closer on average to households than traditional food stores. Fresh produce was available in only 43% of stores (mainly supermarkets and grocery stores and about one third of convenience stores). Less healthful foods like soda and chips were sold in nearly all stores. On average residents lived about 68% further away from fresh produce like apples and tomatoes (3.2 miles) than processed foods like soda and chips (1.9 miles).
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