The food environment is well documented as an important emphasis for public health intervention. While theoretical models of the relationship between the food environment and dietary outcomes have been proposed, empirical testing of conceptual models has been limited. The purpose of this study was to explore which factors in nutrition environments are significantly associated with dietary outcomes in two urban, low-income, and minority food desert communities. This study analyzed cross-sectional data based on 796 participants from the Food in Our Neighborhood Study. Participants were recruited based on a random sample of addresses in neighborhood study areas, Philadelphia, PA (n
= 393) and Trenton, NJ (n
= 403). Main dietary outcomes were Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores and fruit and vegetable consumption subscores computed from ASA24®
assessments. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted and yielded a model of four factors with 22 items. Among four factors that emerged, three factors (Perceptions of Neighborhood Food Availability; and Household Food Challenges) were significantly correlated with dietary outcomes. My Store’s Quality and Perceptions of Neighborhood Food Availability were positively correlated with vegetable consumption subscore. The Household Food Challenges factor was negatively correlated with both vegetable subscore and overall HEI score (i.e., more household challenges were associated with lower dietary scores). These findings confirmed the importance of perceived nutrition environments and household food challenges in predicting dietary outcomes among residents of two urban, low-income, and minority food desert communities.
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