Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Availability of Healthy Snack Foods and Beverages in Stores near High-Income Urban, Low-Income Urban, and Rural Elementary and Middle Schools in Oregon

Academic journal article Childhood Obesity

Availability of Healthy Snack Foods and Beverages in Stores near High-Income Urban, Low-Income Urban, and Rural Elementary and Middle Schools in Oregon

Article excerpt

[Author Affiliation]

Nancy E. Findholt. 1 School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, La Grande, OR.

Betty T. Izumi. 2 School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR.

Thuan Nguyen. 3 Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.

Hayley Pickus. 2 School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR.

Zunqiu Chen. 3 Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.

Address correspondence to: Nancy E. Findholt, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Oregon Health & Science University, School of Nursing/La Grande Campus, One University Boulevard, La Grande, OR 97850, E-mail: findholt@ohsu.edu

Introduction

Snacking has become increasingly prevalent among children in the United States. Since the 1970s, both the percent of children consuming snacks and the frequency of daily snacking occasions have increased.1-3 Moreover, many of the snacks consumed by children are energy-dense, low-nutrient foods, such as desserts, salty snacks, candy, fruit drinks, and soda.3,4 These trends in snacking may be contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity.1,3

Food stores near schools are an important source of snacks for school-aged children, including those in the elementary grades.5,6 Studies have shown that small stores, known as corner stores or convenience stores, are concentrated around schools7,8 and that children visit these stores frequently--often more than once per day--to purchase snack foods and beverages.5 For these reasons, stores near schools are increasingly viewed as potential intervention targets for promoting healthier snack choices among children.5,9 However, few studies to date have assessed availability of healthy snacks in these settings.10-13 Furthermore, previous studies have been limited to urban settings and only one study examined availability of healthy snacks in stores near low- versus high-income schools.13 Thus, little is known about whether healthy snack availability in stores varies by poverty level of the school or rural-urban location.

The aim of the present study was to compare availability of healthy snack foods and beverages in stores located within walking distance of high-income urban, low-income urban, and rural elementary and middle schools. This research was conducted in preparation for a larger intervention study aimed at improving children's snacking habits.

Methods

Sampling Strategy

Food stores were selected based on their proximity within 0.5 mile of elementary and middle schools (grades K-8) in the three study categories: high-income urban, low-income urban, and rural. Schools in the Portland (Oregon) School District comprised the urban sample. High- and low-income schools were characterized by <50% and ≥50% of students eligible for federally subsidized free or reduced-price lunch, respectively. The rural schools were those that had agreed to participate in our larger intervention study. They were located in eight remote communities with populations of 295 to 1960 residents in Union and Wallowa counties, in rural northeast Oregon. On average, 50.2% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in the rural schools combined. The rural sample was not divided by income level because the intent was to determine whether rural location alone influenced availability of healthy snack products.

To identify stores near the urban schools, a list of business licenses classified by the North American Industry Classification System was obtained from the City of Portland Bureau of Technology Services.14 Stores near the rural schools were identified using the telephone book and a database from the Oregon Employment Department. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.