Community-Level Factors Associated With Geographic Access to Food Retailers Offering Nutrition Incentives in Chicago, Illinois
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Community-Level Factors Associated With Geographic Access to Food Retailers Offering Nutrition Incentives in Chicago, Illinois

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  • English

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      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:

      Nutrition incentive programs provide low-income populations with a monetary resource to make healthy foods affordable and accessible. This study aimed to use geospatial analysis to evaluate availability of the Link Match nutrition incentive program in Chicago, Illinois, to determine whether underresourced communities have access.


      We obtained 2018 spatial data on census tract–level sociodemographic characteristics in Chicago. Fifty-seven retailers (eg, farmers markets, food cooperatives) offered Link Match across the city’s 801 census tracts. We examined ordinary least squares and spatial lag regression models to identify census tract–level variables associated with distance (in miles) from the nearest Link Match retailer. Variables of interest included percentage of non-Hispanic Black residents, percentage of Hispanic residents, median household income, violent crime rate, per capita grocery store availability, and walkability.


      Most Link Match retailers were located on Chicago’s South and West sides. Ordinary least squares regression models indicated that low-income census tracts were on average closer to a Link Match retailer than higher-income tracts were (P < .001). Tracts in the highest quartile of violent crime were also significantly closer to a Link Match retailer than tracts in the lowest quartile (P < .001). After accounting for spatial dependency of census tracts, only violent crime rate was significantly associated with distance to nearest Link Match retailer.


      Link Match retailers in Chicago appear to be in underresourced communities. However, these areas have high violent crime rates, which may negatively influence program use. Additional research is needed on how social and environmental factors influence availability and use of nutrition incentive programs.

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