Published: February 2015

ID #: 68236

Journal: Public Health Nutr

Authors: Elbel B, Moran A, Dixon LB, et al.

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The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a new government-subsidized supermarket in a high-need area on household food availability and dietary habits in children. In September 2011, a new supermarket was opened in the Morrisania community in the South Bronx, New York, with funding from New York City’s Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program. Researchers used a difference-in-difference study design with a geographically close and demographically similar comparison group, and collected shopping and consumption data from each neighborhood. Data on children were collected through parents/caregivers via a street-intercept survey and follow-up 24 hour dietary recall in three waves—before the new supermarket opened, during the first months of opening, and one year after opening. The analyses suggest that the new store had minimal effect on household food availability and no statistically significant impact on consumption habits within the first year of opening. The authors explore possible explanations for these results, including access to and reliance on supermarkets prior to the new store opening, the ubiquity of processed foods in supermarkets, and the financial appeal of processed foods.

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