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To examine associations between geographic information systems (GIS)-assessed accessibility to small food stores, shopping patterns and dietary behaviours among small food store customers.
Residential addresses and customer shopping patterns (frequency of shopping, and previous purchase of fruits and vegetables) were gathered through customer intercept surveys. Addresses were geocoded, and GIS-assessed distance and driving time from the participants’ residence to the store were calculated. Dietary status and behaviours were assessed using an objective non-invasive measure of skin carotenoids, the National Cancer Institute Fruit and Vegetable Screener, and items to assess sugary beverage intake. Associations between distance and driving time, demographics, shopping frequency, prior reported purchase of fruits and vegetables at the store and dietary behaviours were examined.
Small food stores (n 22) across North Carolina.
Cross-sectional convenience samples of English-speaking customers aged 18 years or older (n 692).
Participants living closer to the small store had lower income and formal education, were more likely to be Black, more likely to have previously bought fruits and vegetables at the store and more frequently shopped at the store. In adjusted models, skin carotenoids (n 644) were positively associated with distance to the store from home in miles (P = 0·01).
Customers who lived closer to the stores were more frequent shoppers and more likely to have previously purchased fruits and vegetables at the store yet had lower skin carotenoids. These results support continued efforts to examine how to increase the availability and promotion of healthful foods at small food retail stores.
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