IJERPH, Vol. 14, Pages 1371: The Impact of a Multi-Level Multi-Component Childhood Obesity Prevention Intervention on Healthy Food Availability, Sales, and Purchasing in a Low-Income Urban Area
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph14111371
Authors: Joel Gittelsohn Angela Trude Lisa Poirier Alexandra Ross Cara Ruggiero Teresa Schwendler Elizabeth Anderson Steeves
The multifactorial causes of obesity require multilevel and multicomponent solutions, but such combined strategies have not been tested to improve the community food environment. We evaluated the impact of a multilevel (operating at different levels of the food environment) multicomponent (interventions occurring at the same level) community intervention. The B’more Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) intervention worked at the wholesaler (n = 3), corner store (n = 50), carryout (n = 30), recreation center (n = 28), household (n = 365) levels to improve availability, purchasing, and consumption of healthier foods and beverages (low-sugar, low-fat) in low-income food desert predominantly African American zones in the city of Baltimore (MD, USA), ultimately intending to lead to decreased weight gain in children (not reported in this manuscript). For this paper, we focus on more proximal impacts on the food environment, and measure change in stocking, sales and purchase of promoted foods at the different levels of the food system in 14 intervention neighborhoods, as compared to 14 comparison neighborhoods. Sales of promoted products increased in wholesalers. Stocking of these products improved in corner stores, but not in carryouts, and we did not find any change in total sales. Children more exposed to the intervention increased their frequency of purchase of promoted products, although improvement was not seen for adult caregivers. A multilevel food environment intervention in a low-income urban setting improved aspects of the food system, leading to increased healthy food purchasing behavior in children.
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