Understanding Consumer Perspectives to Improve the Local Food Environment and Healthy Eating Behaviors
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California State University San Marcos 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road ELB 507 United States
Wayne State University United States
Detroit Food Policy Council
Detroit Food Policy Council United States
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A997
Detroit residents experience an abundance of health inequities and poor health outcomes. Rates of obesity are 44 percent among youth and 70 percent among adults. Nearly 40 percent of Detroit families live in poverty and 30 percent of families do not have access to reliable transportation. The Detroit Grocery Coalition has collaborated with consumers over the past five years to create the Great Grocer Project (GGP), which assists local, independent grocers in improving their healthy food offerings, increasing access to high-quality healthy foods and promoting positive health outcomes and economic vitality for local communities. Intercept surveys among consumers (N=166) were completed within 43 stores and assessed consumer awareness of the GGP activities, healthy eating behaviors, food security and other health outcomes. Focus groups were also conducted within seven Detroit neighborhoods (n=38) to assess consumer perspectives of their local food environments. Survey and focus group participants were African American (78%) and female (53%) with half utilizing SNAP. Participants used personal vehicles for their grocery shopping (68%). Thirty percent of participants reported shopping in chain grocers within five minutes of their home. Only 12% of Detroit consumers met the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for fruit, 8% reported meeting RDI for vegetables and 12% met RDI for intake of sugary drinks. Most focus group participants discussed a need to improve the quality of healthy foods sold in their local stores and wanted to assist local store owners in making those improvements. Improving quality of healthy foods would enable greater consumption of these foods according to reports from focus group participants. Community perceptions of the local food environment present ample opportunity for improving the availability of healthy options, improving healthy behaviors and reducing chronic disease. Consumers reported preference in utilizing a neighborhood store for their groceries, as long as stores are clean and welcoming.
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