Potential and realized food environments: an application of the social cognitive theory in Alabama food deserts

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dc.contributor DeCaro, Jason A.
dc.contributor Leeper, James D.
dc.contributor Usdan, Stuart L.
dc.contributor.advisor Knol, Linda L.
dc.contributor.advisor Turner, Lori W.
dc.contributor.author Gaines, Alisha
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-01T17:09:59Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-01T17:09:59Z
dc.date.issued 2014
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0001659
dc.identifier.other Gaines_alatus_0004D_11497
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/2110
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Evidence from the United States (US) suggests that low-income, racial/ethnic minority, and rural populations often live in food deserts - areas underserved by grocery stores. Food deserts increase risk for diet-related disease among already at-risk populations; however, food access research has often included limited types of food outlets and has made assumptions about individual food procurement patterns. Framed by the Social Cognitive Theory, this mixed methods study was conducted in two phases in order to investigate Greene County, Alabama food retailers (potential environment) and assess residents' food access patterns (realized environment). In Phase One, all county food retailers were identified and classified in order to describe variances in distribution between the two census tracts considered a food desert (FDT) by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the non-food desert tract (NFDT). USDA designations were confirmed, meaning FDT did not have grocery stores. However, the NFDT contained more of almost every store type, contrasting research suggesting increased presence of other retailers, such as convenience stores and fast food restaurants, in the absence of grocery stores. In Phase Two, semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to describe household food procurement patterns of 30 Greene County Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants, highlighting differences based on whether or not participants lived in a food desert. Patterns identified did not vary significantly based on residential area. Participants were utilizing 59% of county stores, identifying NFDT grocers and dollar stores as more important to meeting household food needs than FDT outlets. However, 53% of participants were leaving the county to do the bulk of their food shopping, using local stores to top off monthly food supply. Participants used a variety of shopping strategies, encountering a range of monetary and opportunity costs. Though not assessed directly, perception of Greene County stores was generally poor. Results demonstrate the value of using USDA food desert designations with in-depth exploration of potential food environments to best describe area foodscapes. Additionally, resident-informed data describing realized food environments can support research about residential attitudes and perceptions to inform food desert solutions.
dc.format.extent 242 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Health education
dc.subject.other Nutrition
dc.title Potential and realized food environments: an application of the social cognitive theory in Alabama food deserts
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Dept. of Health Science
etdms.degree.discipline Health Education/Promotion
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level doctoral
etdms.degree.name Ph.D.


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