Food expenditures and food purchasing among low-income, urban, African-American youth

Lauren A. Dennisuk, Anastasia J. Coutinho, Sonali Suratkar, Pamela J. Surkan, Karina Christiansen, Michelle Riley, Jean A. Anliker, Sangita Sharma, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Low-income, urban African-American youth are at higher risk for obesity and less likely to meet dietary recommendations than white, higher-income youth. Patterns of food purchasing among youth likely contribute to these disparities, but little published information is available. Purpose: To investigate food purchasing behaviors of low-income, urban African-American youth. Methods: A total of 242 African-American youth, aged 1014 years, were recruited from 14 recreation centers in low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Baltimore MD. Youth reported the amount of money typically spent on food, the source of this money, the place of purchase, and frequency of purchase for 29 foods and beverages. Data were collected in 20082009 and analyzed in 20092010. Results: Youth reported spending an average of $3.96 on foods and beverages in a typical day. Corner stores were the most frequently visited food source (youth made purchases at these stores an average of 2.0 times per week). Chips, candy, and soda were the most commonly purchased items, with youth purchasing these an average of 2.5, 1.8, and 1.4 times per week, respectively. Older age was associated with more money spent on food in a typical day (p<0.01). Conclusions: Food purchasing among low-income, urban African-American youth is frequent and substantial. Interventions aimed at preventing and treating obesity in this population should focus on increasing access to healthy foods in their neighborhoods, especially in corner stores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-628
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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