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To assess access to healthy food retailers among formerly incarcerated individuals.
Using linked data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and the Modified Retail Food Environment Index, the present study applies multivariate logistic regression to assess the association between incarceration and (i) living in a food desert and (ii) having low access to healthy food retailers. To account for unobserved heterogeneity, additional analyses are performed comparing formerly incarcerated individuals with persons arrested or convicted for a crime but not previously incarcerated.
Sample of respondents living in urban census tracts in the USA.
Adults (n 10390) aged 24–34 years.
In adjusted logistic regression models, prior incarceration was not significantly associated with living in a food desert (OR=1·097; 95% CI 0·896, 1·343). Prior incarceration significantly increased the likelihood of living in a census tract with low access to healthy food retailers (OR=1·265; 95% CI 1·069, 1·498). This significant association remained when comparing formerly incarcerated individuals with those who had been arrested or convicted of a crime, but not previously incarcerated (OR=1·246; 95% CI 1·032, 1·503).
Formerly incarcerated individuals are more likely to live in areas with low access to healthy food retailers compared with their non-incarcerated counterparts. Because lower access healthy food retailers may be associated with worse health and dietary behaviour, disparities in local food retail environments may exacerbate health inequalities among formerly incarcerated individuals.
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