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Car Ownership and the Association between Fruit and Vegetable Availability and Diet
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    Nearly all research on the food environment and diet has not accounted for car ownership – a potential key modifying factor. This study examined the modifying effect of car ownership on the relationship between neighborhood fruit and vegetable availability and intake.


    Data on respondents’ (n=760) fruit and vegetable intake, car ownership, and demographics came from the 2008 New Orleans Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Shelf space data on fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables were collected in 2008 from a random sample of New Orleans stores (n=114). Availability measures were constructed by summing the amount of fruit and vegetable shelf space in all stores within defined distances from respondent households. Regression analyses controlled for demographics and were run separately for respondents with and without a car.


    Fruit and vegetable availability was positively associated with intake among non-car owners. An additional 100 meters of shelf space within 2 kilometers of a residence was predictive of a half-serving/day increase in fruit and vegetable intake. Availability was not associated with intake among car owners.


    Future research and interventions to increase neighborhood healthy food options, should consider car ownership rates in their target areas as an important modifying factor.

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    3R21CA121167-02S1/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
    5U48DP001948-02/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    R21 CA121167/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
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