Date of Award
Master of Science
Paula B. Ford
The prevalence of obesity in the United States is increasing at a rapid rate, and is the result of an imbalance of caloric intake and expenditure. Obese individuals are at significantly greater risk for coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, as compared to non-obese individuals. Both individual correlates and neighborhood conditions contribute to the risk for obesity. For example, family history, race/ethnicity, and residence in a low socioeconomic status neighborhood are all associated with increased risk of obesity. The retail food environment is one aspect of low socioeconomic status neighborhoods that may contribute to increased obesity risk. Emerging evidence suggests that the availability of food stores varies by neighborhood socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity, with fewer supermarkets available in low-income, high minority neighborhoods. In contrast, although neighborhoods with high immigrant populations may have fewer supermarkets, they also may have more small grocery and specialty (meat, produce, and bakery) stores that enable recent immigrants to maintain traditional diets that have been associated with overall healthy eating patterns.
The primary aim of this study was to examine the association between neighborhood deprivation, neighborhood acculturation, and the retail food environment within El Paso County, a major urban area located on the U.S.-Mexico border. The retail food environment was assessed by classifying, enumerating, and geocoding retail food stores obtained in a listing from the City of El Paso Department of Public Health. Data from the U.S. Census was used to develop indices of neighborhood deprivation and neighborhood acculturation at the tract level. The association between neighborhood deprivation, neighborhood acculturation, and the retail food environment, controlling for population density, at the tract level was determined using Poisson multivariate regression models. It was hypothesized that high levels of neighborhood deprivation will be associated with reduced availability of supermarkets and grocery stores, and that low levels of neighborhood acculturation will be associated with reduced availability of supermarkets but increased availability of grocery stores and specialty stores. It was further hypothesized that neighborhood acculturation will moderate the effect of neighborhood deprivation on availability of grocery stores.
El Paso County has an estimated population of 731,496, and includes the City of El Paso, as well as surrounding areas. The relatively low socioeconomic status of El Paso county is also evident in relatively high percentage of individuals below the poverty line (23.8%), which is almost double that reported (12.4%) within the U.S. The proportion of the population that reports Hispanic/Latino ethnicity is 81.4%. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy (KMO) of 0.877 and Bartlett's Test of Sphericity (X2 = 1232.52, df = 36, p<0.001) both indicate appropriate selection and coverage of factors identified for inclusion in the deprivation index. A linear relationship was established along the gradient. As neighborhood deprivation increased there was a significant decrease in chain supermarkets. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy (KMO) of 0.791 and Bartlett's Test of Sphericity (X2 = 474.12, df = 6, p<0.001) both indicate appropriate selection and coverage of factors identified for inclusion in the acculturation index. Results from our study indicated that the availability of grocery and specialty stores was significantly greater in low acculturation neighborhoods; however, supermarket and convenience store availability were not associated at the tract level. The results from this multivariate study show that after controlling for population density, supermarket availability and convenience store availability were not consistently and significantly associated with neighborhood deprivation or neighborhood acculturation. However, the availability of grocery stores and specialty stores was highly correlated with both neighborhood deprivation and neighborhood acculturation. Models testing whether neighborhood acculturation moderated the effects of neighborhood deprivation on retail food store availability indicated the interaction of neighborhood deprivation and neighborhood acculturation was not significant. Neighborhood acculturation, as opposed to neighborhood deprivation, appears to be the key environmental characteristic associated with the quality of the retail food environment in a border environment.
Obesity is documented as a major risk factor for a host of chronic health problems, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Our results suggest that further research examining retail food environments in border communities may provide insight into the dietary acculturation process among Hispanics. Research on the availability and quality of foods in smaller stores is needed in order to better estimate their influence on the overall retail food environment. Future research is needed to investigate the role and mechanism through which neighborhood level acculturation influences critical health outcomes, including obesity.
Received from ProQuest
Teresa Mercedes Anchondo
Anchondo, Teresa Mercedes, "Neighborhood Deprivation, Neighborhood Aculturation, and the Retail Food Environment in a U.S.-Mexico Border Urban Area" (2010). Open Access Theses & Dissertations. 2635.