Hill District Residents’ Health and Food Security Appear to Have Improved since the Long-Awaited Opening of a Full-Service Supermarket, Especially Compared to Other Neighborhoods with Similar Demographics, According to a RAND Corporation Study [Derived Headline]

By Santoni, Matthew | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 19, 2017 | Go to article overview

Hill District Residents’ Health and Food Security Appear to Have Improved since the Long-Awaited Opening of a Full-Service Supermarket, Especially Compared to Other Neighborhoods with Similar Demographics, According to a RAND Corporation Study [Derived Headline]


Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Hill District residents’ health and food security appear to have improved since the long-awaited opening of a full-service supermarket, especially compared to other neighborhoods with similar demographics, according to a RAND Corporation study.

The study released Tuesday tracked residents’ reported health and economic status since the October 2013 opening of the Shop ‘n Save on Centre Avenue, and compared the change with another group of residents in Homewood, an economically and demographically similar neighborhood that doesn’t have a full-service grocery store. The Hill had been without a full-service grocery store in the neighborhood for more than 30 years.

The study is part of a project examining “two low-income, predominately African-American neighborhoods.”

“These are really interesting findings; it shows the potential that new supermarkets can have broader impacts ... can have an effect beyond just diet,” said Andrea Richardson, the lead author of the study and an associate policy researcher at RAND’s Oakland office. “We did see improvements that were better in the Hill District than in Homewood.”

In the Hill, 12 percent fewer people reported facing food insecurity in the year since the store opened, compared to Homewood during the same period. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Hill District went down while Homewood’s went up, leading to a 12 percent difference in the two, though Richardson said that may have been due to changes in residents’ economic status and eligibility.

Residents in both neighborhoods reported slight increases in high cholesterol, arthritis and diabetes, but the Hill District reported 10 percent fewer new cases of high cholesterol, 7 percent fewer new cases of arthritis and 3.6 percent fewer new cases of diabetes.

Study authors noted that residents didn’t necessarily purchase healthier food from the new store. …

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Hill District Residents’ Health and Food Security Appear to Have Improved since the Long-Awaited Opening of a Full-Service Supermarket, Especially Compared to Other Neighborhoods with Similar Demographics, According to a RAND Corporation Study [Derived Headline]
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