Published: September 2023

Journal: Health Place

Authors: Singleton CR, Wright LA, McDonald M, Archer IG, Bell CN, McLoughlin GM, Houghtaling B, Cooksey Stowers K, Anderson Steeves E

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This scoping review summarized findings and key measures from U.S.-based studies that 1) examined associations between geographic indicators of structural racism (e.g., redlining, racial segregation) and access to food retailers (e.g., supermarkets, convenience stores) or 2) documented disparities in access by neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. In 2022, relevant scientific literature was reviewed using Covidence software. Independent reviewers examined 13,069 citations; 163 citations advanced to the full-text review stage and 70 were selected for inclusion. Twenty-one studies (30%) linked one or more indicator of structural racism to food retailer access while 49 (70%) solely examined differences in access by neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. All studies featuring indicators of structural racism reported significant findings; however, indicators varied across studies making it difficult to make direct comparisons. Key indicators of structural racism in the food access literature included redlining (n = 3), gentrification (n = 3), and racial segregation (n = 4). Many U.S.-based studies have evaluated food retailer access by neighborhood racial/ethnic composition. Moving forward, studies should model indicators of structural racism and determine their influence on geographic access to large and small food retailers.

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