What is the Role of Neighborhood Food and Marketing Environments?
“ When We Have Better, We Can Do Better”
Methods: Study Design
Focus on Families with Children 0-6
Two Semi-structured Interviews and Photo Elicitation with African Americans with young children (n=15) or pregnant (n=4)
Recruited from WIC, Healthy Start, Case Management Programs at Englewood Neighborhood Health Center
Interviews Transcribed Verbatim
Atlas.ti : Constant Comparative Analysis
Results: Participant Characteristics Characteristics n=19 Age 17-59 (mean 29 years) Female 78% (n=15) Englewood/West Englewood 78% (n=15) Residence 89% < 5 years (n=17) Education 73% > HS (n=14) Income 100% < $19,000 per year Martial Status 78% Single (n=15) Cash Assistance (TANF, SSI) 26% (n=5) Food/Nutrition Assistance 63% (n=12)
Social Determinants of Health of the Food System
Family economics and community availability of resources play a key role in shaping food access.
That First Choice may be more nutritious per se but as it goes nowadays with the economy being as bad as it is I ain’t thinking about all this quality stuff I’m thinking about surviving for the long haul because my money is funny.
Lack of employment opportunities in the community
Traveling out of the community provides more access
Lack of employment limits access
I drop him off at school, then I go back home and I watch TV. I basically watch TV all the time, I don’t have a job, so I pick him up about three-thirty from the school, I take him to the store and get him a snack, and then we come home and we watch TV. And then I fix dinner about six, six-thirty, we eat, and we go to bed. At about nine. And that’s typically my day.
Access to personal resources (car), public resources, and mobility
Variable access overtime and between families
Transportation that’s why a lot of times we go to Store A and most of the stuff at Store A my kids will eat but my wife won’t eat. So, she’ll go there and get most of they stuff from there because it’s in walking distance and the stuff that we get we’ll wait. We had a car but it kind of broke down. So, we had transportation to get where we was going but now our car is kind of down. So, now we usually go places where we can walk because we like to walk. So, we’ll try not to get too many bags. If we have to go to Store B, we’ll get on the bus. She’ll carry two bags and I’ll get two bags. So, we’re kind of limited getting our special stores…So, transportation and the cost plays a lot in our decision in how to keep the family happy..
..because sometimes I used to have to catch the bus or catch a cab in order to get to Store C but now that my sister has a car it’s more convenience for me but at the same time they food varieties it just be fresh. I love the fact that they care about their food items, they care about their customers and how they eat and I just love Store C.
Black vs. White deserve the same services
Not clear if its racism or racial preferences
Conflict between Middle Eastern store owners and community residents
Most participants felt that the conflict was based on store owners’ lack of respect for the community
Others based on unruly customers.
Store owners who have a long history in the neighborhood, help people in the neighborhood, and/or embrace African American culture, have a better reputation compared to owners overall.
“ [In other communities] you see the vegetables when you first go in. You see the fruit when you first go in. You’re not looking at the Flamin’ Hots and all that stuff which I can’t stand… I see myself just going into different grocery stores especially in the African American community that [the media] is the key. It’s the cake, it’s the chips, it’s the soda… then you have to hunt for the fruits, the vegetables, the bottled water, and things like that.”
Like in the black folks neighborhood we’ve got 50 liquor stores. Every time you go a block you may see two or three liquor stores. You go in the white people neighborhoods you may not see but one liquor store. They’re not going to sit that close together versus how our liquor stores are. We’ve got one on 39th & Indiana. You ride up four more blocks and you’ve got one on 35th. Then you’ve got another one on 24th & State.
“ Well, number one I would close down the corner stickup but like the saying goes, Throughout the city of Chicago most corner stores are run by Arabs or Koreans. I don’t know what happened to the black community. We just don’t have the finances or we can’t have the intelligence to go get them corner lots or we’re fearful of the competition or what have you. But everybody says that when Arabs come over here and Koreans come over here the government gives them free money, free this and free that and then they got one leg up because they’ve got the money.”
Hassle related use of risk management strategies
Coping with overall context of deprivation
Dollar store is on the other side of the street. Drug sales go on outside of the doorway
You see people hanging out day in and night. I was approached…me and my son, walking to the store with my boyfriends’ brother and this older man. And it was day time, and [a man on the street] was drunk and everything, and he said something. Bob, the guy I was with said something to him cause he said something to my son….So little stuff like that, you see it come and avoid it.
Conclusion Paradigm Shift: Avoid the Lifestyle Trap
Lifestyle choices are heavily structured by life circumstances
Lifestyle choices by themselves account for modest proportions of health status
Lifestyle choices are difficult to change without considering life contexts
Change grocers’ perceptions of community residents.
Increase efforts to reduce community violence to create a safer environment around stores
Offer tax incentives to bring different types of retailers into the community who offer a variety of foods, services, and other goods
Improve the physical appearance, cleanliness, food quality, and customer service at existing stores
Promote the development of minority-owned food retail businesses in African American neighborhoods.