Background Low-income and minority communities have higher rates of nutrition-related chronic diseases than do high-income and nonminority communities and often have reduced availability to healthful foods. Corner store initiatives have been proposed as a strategy to improve access to healthful foods in these communities, yet few studies evaluating these initiatives have been published. Community Context Suburban Cook County, Illinois, encompasses 125 municipalities with a population of more than 2 million. From 2000 through 2009, the percentage of low-income suburban Cook County residents increased 41%; African-American populations increased 20%, and Hispanic populations increased 44%. A 2012 report found that access to stores selling healthful foods was low in several areas of the county Methods Beginning in March 2011, the Cook County Department of Public Health recruited community institutions (ie, local governments, nonprofit organizations, faith-based institutions) who recruited corner stores to participate in the initiative. Corner stores were asked to add new, healthful foods (May-June 2011) to become eligible to receive new equipment, marketing materials, and enhanced community outreach (July 2011-February 2012). Outcomes Nine community institutions participated. Of the 53 corner stores approached, 25 (47%) participated in the trial phase, which included offering 6 healthful foods in their stores. Of those, 21 (84%) completed the conversion phase, which included expansion of healthful foods through additional equipment and marketing and promotional activities. Interpretation Community institutions can play a key role in identifying and engaging corner stores across jurisdictions that are willing and able to implement a retail environment initiative to improve access to healthful foods in their communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health