Neighborhood deprivation and availability of culturally specific African-American and Latino fruits and vegetables in five small central Illinois cities


Introduction: Although individual-level dietary behavior among racial/ethnic minority groups in the US is influenced by cultural food preferences and socioeconomic position, few studies of the food store environment have simultaneously examined both factors. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the availability of culturally specific fruits and vegetables for African Americans and Latinos by levels of neighborhood deprivation. The 5 small central Illinois cities selected for the study have exhibited increasing numbers of both racial/ ethnic groups in the last decade. Methods: A validated audit tool was used to survey 118 food stores in 2008. Census 2000 block group data was used to create a neighborhood deprivation index (categorized as low, medium, and high) based on socioeconomic characteristics using principal component analysis. Statistical analyses were performed in SPSS version 17.0 to determine whether the availability of culturally specific fruits and vegetables (n = 31) varied by neighborhood levels of deprivation and store type. Results: Fewer than 50% of neighborhoods carried culturally specific fruits and vegetables, with the lowest availability found in low deprivation neighborhoods (p < 0.05). Culturally specific fruits and vegetables were most often found in neighborhoods with medium levels of deprivation, and in grocery stores (p < 0.05). Latino fruits and vegetables were less likely to be found across neighborhoods or in stores, compared to African-American fruits and vegetables. Conclusions: The limited availability of culturally specific fruits and vegetables for African Americans and Latinos highlights potential environmental challenges with adherence to daily dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption in these groups.

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Grigsby-Toussaint, D. and Moise, I. (2013) Neighborhood deprivation and availability of culturally specific African-American and Latino fruits and vegetables in five small central Illinois cities. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3, 205-211. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2013.32028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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