Disparities of food availability and affordability within convenience stores in Bexar County, Texas

Matthew Lee Smith, T. S. Sunil, Camerino I. Salazar, Sadaf Rafique, Marcia G. Ory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends healthful food choices; however, some geographic areas are limited in the types of foods they offer. Little is known about the role of convenience stores as viable channels to provide healthier foods in our "grab and go" society. The purposes of this study were to (1) identify foods offered within convenience stores located in two Bexar County, Texas, ZIP Codes and (2) compare the availability and cost of ADA-recommended foods including beverages, produce, grains, and oils/fats. Data were analyzed from 28 convenience store audits performed in two sociodemographically diverse ZIP Codes in Bexar County, Texas. Chi-squared tests were used to compare food availability, and t -tests were used to compare food cost in convenience stores between ZIP Codes. A significantly larger proportion of convenience stores in more affluent areas offered bananas (χ 2 = 4.17, P = 0.003), whole grain bread (χ 2 = 8.33, P = 0.004), and baked potato chips (χ 2 = 13.68, P < 0.001). On average, the price of diet cola (t = - 2.12, P = 0.044) and certain produce items (e.g., bananas, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber) was significantly higher within convenience stores in more affluent areas. Convenience stores can play an important role to positively shape a community's food environment by stocking healthier foods at affordable prices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number782756
JournalJournal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume2013
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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