This review describes available measures of retail food store environments, including data collection methods, characteristics of measures, the dimensions most commonly captured across methods, and their strengths and limitations. Articles were included if they were published between 1990 and 2015 in an English-language peer-reviewed journal and presented original research findings on the development and/or use of a measure or method to assess retail food store environments. From 3,013 citations identified, 125 observational studies and 5 studies that used sales records were reviewed in-depth. Most studies were cross-sectional and based in the U.S. The most common types of stores studied were identified as supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, and corner stores. The most common tools used were the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) and the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores (NEMS-S). The most common attribute captured was availability of healthy options, followed by price. Measurement quality indicators were minimal and focused mainly on assessments of reliability. Additional work is needed to improve measures of the food environment and standardize measures used.
Measures of Retail Food Store Environments and Sales: Review and Implications for Healthy Eating Initiatives
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