food environment, grocery store survey, high-fiber bread, low-fat milk



  1. Hosler, Akiko S. PhD
  2. Varadarajulu, Deepa MS
  3. Ronsani, Adrienne E. MS
  4. Fredrick, Bonnie L. MS
  5. Fisher, Brian D. PhD


As part of the Albany Prevention Research Center's Core Project to understand environmental influences on a healthy lifestyle, all food stores in downtown Albany (N=79) and rural Columbia and Greene counties (N=177) in New York State were visited and surveyed for their availability of low-fat milk and high-fiber bread. Stores in the rural community were significantly (P < .01) more likely to stock low-fat milk (71%) and high-fiber bread (55%) than stores in Albany (40% and 33%, respectively). The rural community also had a significantly higher population ratio of "healthy milk & bread (M&B) stores" (carrying both items) than Albany (7.6 vs 3.9 per 10,000 residents). Urban healthy M&B stores were more likely to be a convenience store and accept food stamps, whereas rural healthy M&B stores were more likely to be a gas station store and offer off-street parking. Multiple logistic regression analysis found that healthy M&B stores were inversely associated with proportions of ethnic/racial minorities in the census block group (CBG). More than 80 percent of minorities in Albany resided in a CBG without a healthy M&B store. Urban residents in predominantly minority neighborhoods were most likely to encounter environmental barriers to obtain healthy staple food, and intervention should be tailored to aid this population.