This paper examines the association between the rural food environment and rural lower-income children’s food consumption and obesity rates in six rural towns in Maine. Researchers found few significant relationships between the community food environment and the home food environment. A marginally significant relationship was found between the distance parents traveled to shop and the stores’ food selection, quality, and price. Family eating behaviors, and parent eating behaviors were significantly associated with children’s healthy food consumption. Home food availability had no significant effect on child food consumption after controlling for other factors. Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and using farmer’s markets were also marginally positively associated with children’s consumption of healthy foods. Parental eating behavior was the only significant predictor of childhood obesity.
How Does the Rural Food Environment Affect Rural Childhood Obesity?
This article focuses on the food environment and food shopping habits of lower-income residents in rural Maine. Focus groups were conducted with lower-income parents of children enrolled in Medicaid/State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Maine to ask them about their food shopping habits, the barriers they faced when trying to … More
The goal of this study is to examine how food environments influence rural childhood obesity rates and food choices, in order to ultimately help policymakers find effective rural policy interventions. Specifically, this research will investigate the community-based healthy food environment (defined as food access, cost and quality for healthy foods … More
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More