Tallahassee

Tallahassee Region

Finding Healthy Foods at a Reasonable Price.

Do disparities in health resources and health care exist between lower income and higher income neighborhoods? Are lower income families able to access the same healthier food choices as their higher income counterparts? Do minorities have a greater risk of developing unhealthy eating habits due to a lack of fresh foods in their communities?

The Leon County Department of Health in Tallahassee set out to answer these and other critical questions by studying the overall eating habits and available nutritional resources in Frenchtown - a low-income, predominately minority community in Leon County.

Researchers began by documenting and comparing the presence of healthy foods in supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores. They went on to gather information from individual households' food receipts, community engagement workshops and focus groups to learn more about the family and community nutritional habits.

Study Highlights

Skim / 1% Milk

  • Lower income area store availability 65%
  • Higher income area store availability 58%

Fresh Fruit

  • Less availability and less variety in lower income area stores

Fruit Canned in Juice or Water

  • Lower income area supermarkets had less variety
  • Some lower income area stores charged less for healthier variety

Frozen Fruit

  • Lower income area supermarkets had less variety
  • No convenience stores offered frozen fruit

Fresh Vegetables

  • More available in lower income area stores

Lean Ground Beef (≤ 10% fat)

  • Lower income area store availability 25%
  • Higher income area store availability 33%

Tuna Canned in Water

  • Lower income area store availability 88%
  • Higher income area store availability 92%

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter

  • Lower income area store availability 31%
  • Higher income area store availability 33%

Healthy Cereals

  • 63% of lower income area stores charged more for healthier option
  • 93% of higher income area stores charged less for healthier option

Armed with this information, Leon County Health Department can now implement health promotion interventions in the Frenchtown community and recommend future supermarket development in areas where healthy yet affordable food is scarce.

This study used an adapted version of the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS) developed at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., and focuses on the availability and price of more healthful or recommended food choices. A total of 73 supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores were selected for survey inclusion based on availability within each of the 47 census tracts of Leon County. NEMS Store Results, 2008