Although it has long been known that dietary intake is influenced by food access, researchers historically considered access to be a function of just household income and food prices. Tulane Nutrition's research expanded on this theory by integrating the fields of geography, food marketing, consumer economics, and community nutrition to develop a new conceptual framework on how the neighborhood retail food environment influences dietary choices and obesity. Emphasizing neighborhood food availability, racial-ethnic inequities, and income levels, our research provides a more nuanced view of food consumption behavior and highlighted the importance of interventions which include geographic access as a focus. Our work continues to seek innovative solutions to address the issue of food access through community-based research and partnerships.
Fostering Equitable Food Access and Healthy Eating Through Social Innovation and Policy Initiatives: In collaboration with The Food Trust, we promoted creative approaches to expanding access to nutritious foods through the National Center for Healthy Food Access. This national initiative serves as a catalyst to share learning and test new ideas. As part of the Center for Healthy Food Access, we supported local organizations working through the food system in New Orleans to tackle common challenges through innovation. Our findings about the innovative food and nutritional work happening in New Orleans are accessible through our Resource Guide. Previously, we worked with the Tulane University Prevention Research Center and other local partners to form the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee, which advised the City of New Orleans on policy alternatives to improve food access after Hurricane Katrina. This ultimately resulted in the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, a major local investment to fund groceries in underserved areas. Most recently, we’ve reflected on the contributions to food access made by social innovation in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, and the lessons that can be learned from this local experience.
- Rose and O’Malley: Food Access 3.0: Insights From Post-Katrina New Orleans on an Evolving Approach to Food Inequities
- Tulane Nutrition Resource Guide: A Resource Guide to Innovative Food & Nutrition Work in New Orleans
- Tulane News Story: Tulane joins National Healthy Food Initiative
- Ulmer et al: Understanding Policy Enactment: The New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative
- New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee: Building Health Communities: Expanding Access to Fresh Food Retail
- Tulane News Story: Fresh Approach to Feeding New Orleans
Links Between Food Access and Consumption: We have written a number of papers on the links between food access and consumption. An early paper examined the connection between food store access and household fruit and vegetable use among participants in the Food Stamp Program. Another early paper further analyzed the interplay between store access, in-store availability of specific foods, and fruit and vegetable consumption. Other papers examined the links between the neighborhood food environment and weight status. In a symposium sponsored by the American Society for Nutrition, we highlighted several studies that developed new techniques for characterizing the food environment, analyzed its influence on consumption and weight status, and explored alternative policy options for interventions.
- Hutchinson et al: Neighborhood food environments and obesity in southeast Louisiana
- ASN Symposium Paper by Rose: Access to Healthy Food: A Key Focus for Research on Domestic Food Insecurity
- ASN Symposium Paper by Rose et al: The Importance of a Multi-Dimensional Approach for Studying the Links between Food Access and Consumption
- Bodor et al: The Association between Obesity and Urban Food Environments
- Rose et al: Neighborhood Food Environments and Body Mass Index: The Importance of In-Store Contents
- Bodor et al: Neighborhood fruit and vegetable availability and consumption: the role of small food stores in an urban environment
- Rose and Richards: Food Store Access and Household Fruit and Vegetable Use among Participants in the US Food Stamp Program
Inequities in Food Access: This research examined historical racial-ethnic inequities in food access in New Orleans, emphasizing the powerful effects of Hurricane Katrina. By assessing supermarket counts in the entire city, utilizing New Orleans census tract data, and evaluating the situation in several periods after the storm, our research determined that existing inequities for African-American neighborhoods worsened after Hurricane Katrina and slowly improved over the past decade.
- Mundorf et al: 10 Years Later: Changes in Food Access Disparities Since Hurricane Katrina
- Bodor et al: Disparities in Food Access: Does Aggregate Availability of Key Foods from Other Stores Offset the Relative Lack of Supermarkets in African-American Neighborhoods?
- Rose et al: The Effects of Hurricane Katrina on Food Access Disparities in New Orleans
Domestic Food Security: Our early research studied the economic determinants and dietary consequences of domestic food insecurity and hunger. We examined the association between food insecurity and overweight status in young school children as well as the connection between food insufficiency and the intake of various nutrients. Our research highlighted the importance of food insecurity and hunger indicators, further validated the use of self-reported measures and pointed to areas of need for future research and interventions. We also showed how a rights-based approach can be used to address the food insecurity problem. Through this research, we have defined trends regarding food availability and accessibility in various settings, from low-income communities to college campuses. This body of research also provides insight into how a rights-based approach can be used to address the food insecurity problem.
- Langellier and Chaparro et al: Trends and determinants of food insecurity among adults in low-income households in California
- Chaparro MP and Langellier et al: Nearly 4 million Californians are food insecure
- Rose and Oliveira: Nutrient Intakes of Individuals from Food Insufficient Households in the United States.
- • Chaparro MP et al: Food insecurity prevalence among college students at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
- Chilton and Rose: A Rights-Based Approach to Food Insecurity in the United States
- Rose and Bodor: Household Food Insecurity and Overweight Status in Young School Children: Results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study
- Rose: Economic Determinants and Dietary Consequences of Food Insecurity in the United States