Master's Culminating Experience
Background: The United States is one the richest countries in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $48,442, yet many communities lack access to affordable nutritious food. Access to food impacts health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between food access and rates of obesity and diabetes in the states of Ohio and Kentucky.
Methods: County level food access data from 120 counties in Kentucky and 88 counties in Ohio were obtained from the USDA website. The dataset included demographic variables and poverty rates. Food access variables comprised of full service restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores; as well as rates of obesity and diabetes. Pearson Correlation was used to analyze association between food access variables and rates of obesity and diabetes. Linear regression was used to determine food access variables that were significant predictors of obesity and diabetes rates.
Results: In Ohio, both diabetes and obesity rates increase significantly when the numbers of grocery stores increase. Diabetes rates increase with an increase in convenience stores. There is a negative correlation between obesity and diabetes and full service restaurants in Ohio. Strong positive correlation only exists between diabetes and the number of grocery stores in Kentucky. There is a negative correlation between full service restaurants and diabetes in Kentucky. Poverty did not have a significant correlation on diabetes or obesity in Ohio and Kentucky.
Falls, M. (2012). Factors that Influence Food Access in the United States: A Snapshot of Food Access in Ohio and Kentucky. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.