Association of personal vehicle access with lifestyle habits and food insecurity among public housing residents

Jonathan C. Martinez, Jeanne M. Clark, Kimberly A. Gudzune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Transportation type may play a role in the ease with which a person can access healthy food and recreation facilities. Our objective was to determine the relationship between access to a personal vehicle and diet, food insecurity, and physical activity among public housing residents, which are typically low-income, urban populations. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of randomly selected households within two public housing communities in Baltimore, MD (2014–2015). Our independent variable was whether or not the resident had access to a personal vehicle. Our dependent variables were ‘high’ fruit & vegetable intake (≥6.7 servings/day), ‘high’ added sugar intake (≥39.9 tsp/day), food insecurity, and being physically active. We used Poisson regression with robust error variance to estimate relative risk ratios adjusted for demographics and perceived environmental factors. Our sample included 265 adults (response rate of 48%) with mean age of 45 years, 86% women, and 96% African-American. Only 42% had access to a vehicle. No significant associations existed between personal vehicle access with diet or physical activity outcomes. Access to a personal vehicle was associated with significantly lower risk of food insecurity (RR 0.76, 95%CI 0.63–0.92, p < 0.01). We found a significant association between personal vehicle access and lower risk of food insecurity; however, there were no associations with diet or exercise. Based on these results, future research might explore how transportation access influences and might possibly reduce food insecurity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-345
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Food supply
  • Public housing
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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