Healthy Food Retail Study Published in Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development

Photo of girl and mom at produce stand
Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

Congratulations to authors Dr. Sanchez-Flack, Dr. Joshi, Dr. Lee, and Dr. Freedman for their publication, “Indicators of Readiness and Capacity for Implementation of Healthy Food Retail Interventions”, in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

The Building Capacity for Obesity Prevention research team is dedicated to investigating policy, system, and environmental (PSE) intervention areas that impact the health and wellbeing of communities. Within the study group’s most recent publication, authors Sanchez-Flack et al. (2021) emphasize the importance of Healthy Food Retail (HFR) initiatives in low-resource rural and urban environments. 
In order to determine the main factors/barriers influencing Healthy Food Retail (HFR), nine counties within Ohio were selected based on their county demographics (i.e., county health ranking, geographic location, adult obesity rates, SNAP-Ed eligibility/participation). Within each county, data was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus groups with SNAP-Ed practitioners, Creating Healthy Communities (CHC) staff, and community residents. 
After a five-phase consensus modeling process, five themes were identified as important for the successful implementation of HFR interventions: (1) corner store awareness/perception; (2) organizational and practitioner capacity; (3) community attitudes/perceptions; (4) logistical factors; and (5) networks/relationships. These five themes, as well as 18 relevant indicators, were translated into a survey-based assessment (website: Practitioners can now utilize the PSE READI assessment tool to generate practical, next-step recommendations for implementing and developing PSE interventions in Healthy Food Retail. While designing, enacting, and evaluating PSE interventions is a complex process, the evidence-based research tool aims to guide practitioners as they work within their local contexts.