Assessment of a government-subsidized supermarket in a high-need area on household food availability and children's dietary intakes
Brian Elbel, Alyssa Moran, L Beth Dixon. Kamila Kiszko, Jonathan Cantor, Courtney Abrams and Tod Mijanovich
Objective: To assess the impact of a new government-subsidized supermarket in a
high-need area on household food availability and dietary habits in children.
Design: A difference-in-difference study design was utilized.
Setting: Two neighbourhoods in the Bronx, New York City. Outcomes were
collected in Morrisania, the target community where the new supermarket was
opened, and Highbridge, the comparison community.
Subjects: Parents/caregivers of a child aged 3–10 years residing in Morrisania
or Highbridge. Participants were recruited via street intercept at baseline (presupermarket
opening) and at two follow-up periods (five weeks and one year
Results: Analysis is based on 2172 street-intercept surveys and 363 dietary recalls
from a sample of predominantly low-income minorities. While there were small,
inconsistent changes over the time periods, there were no appreciable differences
in availability of healthful or unhealthful foods at home, or in children’s dietary
intake as a result of the supermarket.
Conclusions: The introduction of a government-subsidized supermarket into an
underserved neighbourhood in the Bronx did not result in significant changes in
household food availability or children’s dietary intake. Given the lack of healthful
food options in underserved neighbourhoods and need for programmes that
promote access, further research is needed to determine whether healthy food
retail expansion, alone or with other strategies, can improve food choices of
children and their families.