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Measuring the Food Environment: A Systematic Technique for Characterizing Food Stores Using Display Counts
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  • Alternative Title:
    J Environ Public Health
  • Description:
    Marketing research has documented the influence of in-store characteristics-such as the number and placement of display stands-on consumer purchases of a product. However, little information exists on this topic for key foods of interest to those studying the influence of environmental changes on dietary behavior. This study demonstrates a method for characterizing the food environment by measuring the number of separate displays of fruits, vegetables, and energy-dense snack foods (including chips, candies, and sodas) and their proximity to cash registers in different store types. Observations in New Orleans stores (N = 172) in 2007 and 2008 revealed significantly more displays of energy-dense snacks than of fruits and vegetables within all store types, especially supermarkets. Moreover, supermarkets had an average of 20 displays of energy-dense snacks within 1 meter of their cash registers, yet none of them had even a single display of fruits or vegetables near their cash registers. Measures of the number of separate display stands of key foods and their proximity to a cash register can be used by researchers to better characterize food stores and by policymakers to address improvements to the food environment.
  • Pubmed ID:
    22701497
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC3373162
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