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To test the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a healthier checkout pilot study in a convenience store chain.
A quasi-experimental study was conducted comparing a 3-month ‘healthier checkouts’ intervention in ten convenience stores which stocked eight healthier items in the checkout space and ten comparison stores assigned to continue stocking their current checkout space product mix. All aspects of the intervention were implemented by the retailer. The research team conducted in-person fidelity checks to assess implementation. Sales data were collected from the retailer in order to compare mean baseline to intervention sales of the eight healthier items in intervention and comparison groups while controlling for overall store sales.
Convenience store chain.
Twenty convenience stores in New Hampshire.
The increases in sales of healthier items between the baseline and intervention periods among the intervention and comparison stores were not statistically significant; however, the overall pattern of the results showed promising changes that should be expanded on in future studies. Intervention fidelity checks indicated that results may have been attenuated by variability in intervention implementation.
This study advances the evidence for effective promotion of healthier food purchases in the convenience store chain setting and adds to the current literature on retail checkout space interventions. Additional research is needed to confirm and expand these results.
To assess the relationship between food insecurity, sleep quality, and days with mental and physical health issues among college students.
An online survey was administered. Food insecurity was assessed using the ten-item Adult Food Security Survey Module. Sleep was measured using the nineteen-item Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Mental health and physical health were measured using three items from the Healthy Days Core Module. Multivariate logistic regression was conducted to assess the relationship between food insecurity, sleep quality, and days with poor mental and physical health.
Twenty-two higher education institutions.
College students (n 17 686) enrolled at one of twenty-two participating universities.
Compared with food-secure students, those classified as food insecure (43·4 %) had higher PSQI scores indicating poorer sleep quality (P < 0·0001) and reported more days with poor mental (P < 0·0001) and physical (P < 0·0001) health as well as days when mental and physical health prevented them from completing daily activities (P < 0·0001). Food-insecure students had higher adjusted odds of having poor sleep quality (adjusted OR (AOR): 1·13; 95 % CI 1·12, 1·14), days with poor physical health (AOR: 1·01; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·02), days with poor mental health (AOR: 1·03; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·03) and days when poor mental or physical health prevented them from completing daily activities (AOR: 1·03; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·04).
College students report high food insecurity which is associated with poor mental and physical health, and sleep quality. Multi-level policy changes and campus wellness programmes are needed to prevent food insecurity and improve student health-related outcomes.
To assess rates of food insecurity (FI) among college students enrolled at a large public university system across one US state and identify factors associated with experiencing FI.
Cross-sectional online survey administered to eligible, enrolled students (n 38 614) across three campuses within the university system, with 5593 students responding (4824 final sample after applying exclusion criteria, 12·5 % response rate). FI was assessed using the US Department of Agriculture’s Adult Food Security Survey Module. Descriptive statistics were conducted to calculate FI status and identify sample characteristics. Associations between FI status and independent variables were assessed using bivariate analyses (χ2 and ANOVA tests) and multivariate logistic regression.
Large public university system, Southeast USA.
Enrolled college students (excluding freshman, <18 years of age).
Thirty-six per cent of students were classified as FI. After controlling for confounders, factors that were significantly associated with increased likelihood of FI included previous FI (P<0·001; OR=4·78), financial factors and self-reported grade point average ≤3·85. Seniors were significantly more likely experience FI than graduate students (P=0·004, OR=1·41). A significant relationship was not identified between FI and meal plan participation, and no differences in FI were found between graduate students and individuals with sophomore or junior standing.
This research identifies high rates of FI among college students enrolled in a large public university system in the Southeast USA, as well as selected factors related to FI. Programmes to assist college students experiencing FI need to be developed and tested.
To evaluate the secondary impact of a multilevel, child-focused, obesity intervention on food-related behaviours (acquisition, preparation, fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption) on youths’ primary caregivers.
B’More Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) group-randomized controlled trial promoted access to healthy foods and food-related behaviours through wholesaler and small store strategies, peer mentor-led nutrition education aimed at youths, and social media and text messaging targeting their adult caregivers. Measures included caregivers’ (n 516) self-reported household food acquisition frequency for FV, snacks and grocery items over 30 d, and usual FV consumption in a sub-sample of 226 caregivers via the NCI FV Screener. Hierarchical models assessed average treatment effects (ATE). Treatment-on-the-treated-effect (TTE) analyses evaluated correlation between behavioural change and exposure to BHCK. Exposure scores at post-assessment were based on self-reported viewing of BHCK materials and participating in activities.
Thirty Baltimore City low-income neighbourhoods, USA.
Adult caregivers of youths aged 9–15 years.
Of caregivers, 90·89 % were female; mean age 39·31 (sd 9·31) years. Baseline mean (sd) intake (servings/d) was 1·30 (1·69) fruits and 1·35 (1·05) vegetables. In ATE, no significant intervention effect was found on caregivers’ food-related behaviours. In TTE, each point increase in BHCK exposure score (range: 0–6·9) increased caregivers’ daily fruit consumption by 0·2 servings (0·24 (se 0·11); 95 % CI 0·04, 0·47). Caregivers reporting greater social media exposure tripled their daily fruit intake (3·16 (se 0·92); 95 % CI 1·33, 4·99) and increased their frequency of unhealthy food purchasing v. baseline.
Child-focused community-based nutrition interventions may also benefit family members’ fruit intake. Child-focused interventions should involve adult caregivers and intervention effects on family members should be assessed. Future multilevel studies should consider using social media to improve reach and engage caregiver participants.
Social relationships can impact youths’ eating and physical activity behaviours; however, the best strategies for intervening in the social environment are unknown. The objectives of the present study were to provide in-depth information on the social roles that youths’ parents and friends play related to eating and physical activity behaviours and to explore the impact of other social relationships on youths’ eating and physical activity behaviours.
Convergent parallel mixed-methods design.
Low-income, African American, food desert neighbourhoods in Baltimore City, MD, USA.
Data were collected from 297 youths (53 % female, 91 % African American, mean age 12·3 (sd 1·5) years) using structured questionnaires and combined with in-depth interviews from thirty-eight youths (42 % female, 97 % African American, mean age 11·4 (sd 1·5) years) and ten parents (80 % female, 50 % single heads of house, 100 % African American).
Combined interpretation of the results found that parents and caregivers have multiple, dynamic roles influencing youths’ eating and physical activity behaviours, such as creating health-promoting rules, managing the home food environment and serving as a role model for physical activity. Other social relationships have specific, but limited roles. For example, friends served as partners for physical activity, aunts provided exposure to novel food experiences, and teachers and doctors provided information related to eating and physical activity.
Obesity prevention programmes should consider minority youths’ perceptions of social roles when designing interventions. Specifically, future research is needed to test the effectiveness of intervention strategies that enhance or expand the supportive roles played by social relationships.
To examine associations between food insecurity, excess body weight, psychosocial factors and food behaviours among low-income African-American families.
Cross-sectional survey of participants in the baseline evaluation of the B’More Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) obesity prevention trial. We collected data on socio-economic factors, food source destinations, acquiring food, preparation methods, psychosocial factors, beliefs and attitudes, participation in food assistance programmes, anthropometry and food security. We used principal component analysis to identify patterns of food source destinations and logistic regression to examine associations.
Fourteen low-income, predominantly African-American neighbourhoods in Baltimore City, MD, USA.
Two hundred and ninety-eight adult caregiver–child (10–14 years old) dyads.
Of households, 41·6 % had some level of food insecurity and 12·4 % experienced some level of hunger. Food-insecure participants with hunger were significantly more likely to be unemployed and to have lower incomes. We found high rates of excess body weight (overweight and obesity) among adults and children (82·8 % and 37·9 % among food insecure without hunger, 89·2 % and 45·9 % among food insecure with hunger, respectively), although there were no significant differences by food security status. Food source usage patterns, food acquisition, preparation, knowledge, self-efficacy and intentions did not differ by food security. Food security was associated with perceptions that healthy foods are affordable and convenient. Greater caregiver body satisfaction was associated with food insecurity and excess body weight.
In this setting, obesity and food insecurity are major problems. For many food-insecure families, perceptions of healthy foods may serve as additional barriers to their purchase and consumption.
Our objective was to pilot collaborations between two urban farms with two corner stores to increase access to fresh produce in low-income neighbourhoods.
We conducted a pre–post evaluation of two farm–store collaborations using quantitative distribution and sales data. Using semi-structured interviews, we qualitatively assessed feasibility of implementation and collaboration acceptability to farmers and storeowners.
Low-income urban neighbourhoods in Baltimore, MD, USA in 2012.
Pair #1 included a 0·25 acre (0·1 ha) urban farm with a store serving local residents and was promoted by the neighbourhood association. Pair #2 included a 2 acre (0·8 ha) urban farm with a store serving bus commuters.
Produce was delivered all nine intervention weeks in both pairs. Pair #1 produced a significant increase in the mean number of produce varieties carried in the store by 11·3 (P<0·01) and sold 86 % of all items delivered. Pair #2 resulted in a non-significant increase in the number of produce varieties carried by 2·2 (P=0·44) and sold 63 % of all items delivered.
Our case study suggests that pairing urban farms with corner stores for produce distribution may be feasible and could be a new model to increase access to fruits and vegetables among low-income urban neighbourhoods. For future programmes to be successful, strong community backing may be vital to support produce sales.
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