The mismatch between observational measures and residents' perspectives on the retail food environment: A mixed-methods approach in the Heart Healthy Hoods study

Julia Díez, Roberto Valiente, Carmen Ramos, Reyes García, Joel Gittelsohn, Manuel Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective To gain a deeper understanding of the retail food environment by investigating similarities and differences between objective measures and residents' perspectives. Design The study incorporated Geographic Information System (GIS)-based measures, in-store surveys and the results from a larger photovoice project. We combined these data using a convergent parallel mixed-methods approach. Setting We conducted this study in a low-income neighbourhood in Madrid (Spain) in 2016. Subjects We assessed healthy food availability, accessibility and affordability using GIS-based measures and in-store audits. We also analysed the photographs and discussions from twelve participants who engaged in a photovoice project on their food environment. Results Quantitative results depicted a widely served and highly accessible retail food environment, in which supermarkets scored highest in terms of healthy food availability (36·5 out of 39) and 98·9 % of residents could access a healthy food store within a walking travel distance of less than 15 min. Qualitative results showed that participants preferred small local businesses over supermarkets, and revealed built environment obstacles for elderly residents. They also highlighted how the socio-economic context constrained residents' food choices. Conclusions People's experienced retail food environment is different from the one quantitatively analysed. Results show the potential of using a mixed-methods approach to enrich food environment research and enhance public health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2970-2979
Number of pages10
JournalPublic health nutrition
Volume20
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • Food environment
  • Geographic Information System
  • Healthy eating
  • Mixed-methods
  • Photovoice
  • Public health
  • Spain
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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