Annual-food-store-surveys-chart-citys-food-landscape

Annual food store surveys chart city's food landscape

Research expanded from previous years

By Naomi King, Tulane Prevention Research Center

A thorough survey of New Orleans' food stores is under way this fall, as the Tulane Prevention Research Center conducts its annual food retail mapping and in-store survey project.

While the study of food deserts has appeared in the national spotlight, the PRC's work aims to look at the entire food landscape, not just what is lacking.
Since 2004, the PRC at Tulane University has sent trained research assistants throughout New Orleans to update a citywide list of food stores. In some of those stores, more than 160 this year, teams will also do in-store surveys to assess the availability of key foods.

This information is used in various PRC studies, such as tracking how changes in food-assistance programs affect what stores offer, or where new stores are most needed. This year's data will also be used with a citywide phone survey as a starting point to evaluate the impact of the city's new Fresh Food Retailer Initiative. This $14-million program gives financial assistance to stores that will expand their retail offerings to include fresh produce as well as to new stores that locate in neighborhoods that have historically lacked access to fresh, healthy foods.

"The annual food store surveying and mapping is a major component of the Tulane PRC's core research and is the only in-depth data that has tracked changes in New Orleans' retail-food environment since before Hurricane Katrina," said Dr. Carolyn Johnson, Tulane PRC director.

Scouring the streets and isles in local grocery stores to create a picture of New Orleans' food options is a revealing exercise for student and community workers.

"It's interesting to see what's out there," said Jewel Barnes, a community outreach assistant on the project for her second year. Barnes began helping conduct community-based research in 2008 after learning about the Prevention Research Center through her church. "The people really need more stores and stores with fresh fruits and vegetables. … [But] it's encouraging because you hope the stores will change."

For Elizabeth Egelski, a nutrition and community health student at Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, her participation in the surveys and mapping has also helped her understand how field research is performed, as well as reinforce the importance of such research.

"People are really exposed to a lot of foods that aren't healthy for them," Egelski said. "Our environment affects us, and it's subtle."

This year's food store mapping will not only categorize all the city's stores into types, such as corner store or supermarket; it will also look at the store exteriors, such as bars on windows, sidewalk conditions, posted advertising. Neighborhood characteristics will also be surveyed for what researchers call "social markers." These factors include graffiti and no-loitering signs.

Also new this year, the in-store surveys will look at what foods are sold at or near checkout registers, what food advertisements are posted inside, and what types of prepared foods are offered.

"We're looking at the entire food environment to see what foods dominate, in addition to what is lacking," Johnson said. "Building more grocery stores may help alleviate New Orleans' food disparities, but there should also be an emphasis on these stores selling fresh, healthy produce."

Topics:   food environment , community health , diet , nutrition , policy , obesity , childhood obesity

Other Related Posts

NOLA-LEADs-finds-positive-results-from-citizen-training-program-

NOLA LEADs finds positive results from citizen-training program

Education & Engagement Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: April 10, 2018

Anyone can be a health leader and improve their community, if given the right tools and skills. That’s what the Tulane Prevention Research Center's two-year NOLA LEADs (Leadership Education & Action on health Disparities) citizen-training project has found since completing its work. Keeping with the project's goal of helping all who are concerned about improving the lives of their neighbors and the conditions of their communities, the team has put together a one-page summary to…

Read More

Closing-the-policymaking-gap-Tackling-barriers-to-improving-public-health-in-Louisiana

Closing the policymaking gap: Tackling barriers to improving public health in Louisiana

Education & Engagement

Published: April 08, 2018

When attempting to address Louisiana's consistently low rankings in national health reports, public health professionals can have a positive influence on the policy-making process through research and education, according to recently published work from the Tulane public health researchers. From 2013 to 2014, a team of faculty and staff at the Tulane Nutrition Program and Tulane Prevention Research Center explored strategies for improving public health in Louisiana by conducting policy research and educating lawmakers. The…

Read More

Tulane-graduate-hikes-the-Underground-Railroad

Tulane graduate hikes the Underground Railroad

Education & Engagement

Published: April 05, 2018

Recent Tulane University graduate Chyna Johnson spent five days in March in the footsteps of abolitionist Harriet Tubman this week as part of a 100-mile trek along the route of the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by African-American slaves to escape to free states, ran north to the free states and Canada. (Click on the image above to see a slideshow from the trek.) Johnson is…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement Food Environment Research

Published: April 01, 2018

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. We always think of spring as a time of new beginnings and renewal. Certainly, it can be that way with us as well. The weather is mild (not too hot yet) so it's a good time to think about being outdoors more. Spring is conducive to growth, so it's a good time to plant a garden, especially vegetables. What could be fresher than that? There…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-to-present-core-research-and-other-work-at-Society-of-Behavioral-Medicine

Tulane PRC to present core research and other work at Society of Behavioral Medicine

Core Research

Published: April 01, 2018

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) faculty, staff and students are scheduled to give 11 presentations at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's 39th Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans this week. The meeting draws thousands of researchers, public health professionals, community members, and advocates from across the country and the world. Among the topics that will be presented by the Tulane PRC are community-based cooking classes, social marketing for health promotion, community engagement, photovoice, and…

Read More

Tulane-partnership-with-FitLot-provides-students-with-assessment-experience-in-aging-populations

Tulane partnership with FitLot provides students with assessment experience in aging populations

Education & Engagement Physical Activity Research

Published: April 01, 2018

Transforming the built environment of a community can make a difference in how citizens feel about accessibility of physical fitness. Since the start of March, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine faculty and students have been engaging with local participants of The FitLot Method Program, an outdoor, group fitness program designed to meet the needs of adults 55 years and older. FitLot, a longtime community partner of the Tulane Prevention Research Center…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. Photos 1-5: Women With A Vision Inc. Women with a Vision Inc. has been busy developing a garden with a spirit that transcends the physical space. As a part of…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

This newsletter's team spotlight features four graduating student research assistants who supported numerous Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) projects and programs over the past year. Through one-on-one training and mentorship, these master's students have worked diligently to apply the skills, knowledge, frameworks and strategies learned in classes to the community-based work of the PRC. "These students have worked diligently on community projects, and we are very proud of them," said Tulane PRC Director Carolyn Johnson.…

Read More

Upcoming-seminar-shares-innovative-peer-led-diabetes-prevention

Upcoming seminar shares innovative, peer-led diabetes prevention

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

Please join the Tulane Prevention Research Center on Wednesday, April 11, for the Spring 2018 Innovations in Public Health Research and Practice Seminar: "Prevention of Diabetes in India: What evidence is there for scale-up?" Light refreshments will be provided. This seminar is free and open to the public. Wednesday, April 11, 2018, from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Diboll Auditorium, 1st Floor, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans Featuring…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: April 01, 2018

Louisiana Obesity Commission publishes annual report Since 2014, the Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission has been tasked by state lawmakers to address obesity statewide and its associated diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The commission recently presented its annual report to the state Legislature. The report, published in February 2018, includes recommendations for future Commission activities and highlights the Commission’s activities during the timeframe of April 2017-November 2017. Click here to…

Read More

canary