Measurement of Nutrition Environments in Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, and Restaurants in the Lower Mississippi Delta
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Measurement of Nutrition Environments in Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, and Restaurants in the Lower Mississippi Delta

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      Prev Chronic Dis
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      Introduction The Lower Mississippi Delta is characterized by several factors associated with poor diet quality. Our objective was to measure local nutrition environments of pregnant women and their infants who participated in a nutrition and physical activity intervention to assess environmental exposures potentially influencing their dietary habits. Methods We measured the nutrition environments of 5 towns in which participants resided by using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for grocery stores, convenience stores, full-service restaurants, and fast food restaurants. We used general linear models to test for differences in ratio scores, calculated by dividing each food outlet score by the maximum score possible, among food outlet classes and subclasses. Results Mean total ratio scores (expressed as percentages) for the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey among 4 classes of food outlets were significantly different from one another except for convenience stores and full-service restaurants. On average, grocery stores (n = 11) had 54% of maximum points possible, followed by full-service restaurants (21%; n = 50), convenience stores (16%; n = 86), and fast food restaurants (8%; n = 119). We found no significant differences in mean total ratio scores among convenience store subclasses. For fast food restaurant subclasses, stand-alone restaurants (n = 81) had 19% of maximum points possible, significantly higher than grocery store delicatessens (6%; n = 8), corner stores that sold fast food (3%; n = 5), and gas stations that sold fast food (4%; n = 25). Conclusion These 5 Lower Mississippi Delta towns scored low on nutrition environment measures associated with healthful eating. Behavioral interventions designed to bring about positive changes in dietary habits of rural residents are needed; however, effects may be minimal if environmental factors supportive of healthful eating are not available.
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