Abstract [from journal]
Public health interventions to increase supermarket access assume that shopping in supermarkets is associated with healthier food purchases compared to other store types. To test this assumption, we compared purchasing patterns by store-type for certain higher-calorie, less healthy foods (HCF) and lower-calorie, healthier foods (LCF) in a sample of 35 black women household shoppers in Philadelphia, PA. Data analyzed were from 450 food shopping receipts collected by these shoppers over four-week periods in 2012. We compared the likelihood of purchasing the HCF (sugar-sweetened beverages, sweet/salty snacks, and grain-based snacks) and LCF (low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables) at full-service supermarkets and six other types of food retailers, using generalized estimating equations. Thirty-seven percent of participants had household incomes at or below the poverty line, and 54% had a BMI >30. Participants shopped primarily at full-service supermarkets (55%) or discount/limited assortment supermarkets (22%), making an average of 11 shopping trips over a 4-week period and spending mean (SD) of $350 ($222). Of full-service supermarket receipts, 64% included at least one HCF item and 58% at least one LCF. Most trips including HCF (58%) and LCF (60%) expenditures were to full-service or discount/limited assortment supermarkets rather than smaller stores. Spending a greater percent of total dollars in full-service supermarkets was associated with spending more on HCF (p = 0.03) but not LCF items (p = 0.26). These findings in black women suggest a need for more attention to supermarket interventions that change retailing practices and/or consumer shopping behaviors related to foods in the HCF categories examined.