Background: Online grocery shopping is a rapidly growing food procurement approach in the United States with the potential to improve food access. Limited research has focused on understanding differential access to online grocery shopping that provides healthier items such as fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Objective: The study aim was to understand geospatial, socioeconomic, and racial disparities in the availability of healthy online grocery shopping and online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) acceptance in North Carolina. Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted during spring 2021. Participants/setting: A listing of grocery stores with online shopping was generated using a systematic search strategy. Stores were geocoded and spatially joined to relevant contextual (rural/urban [based on US Department of Agriculture Rural Urban Continuum codes]), broadband Internet availability, socioeconomic variables (ie, percent poverty and Social Vulnerability Index), and demographic variables (ie, percent racial minority) in geographic information systems software. Main outcome measures: Prevalence rate ratios (PRRs) of healthy online grocery shopping (availability of curbside pickup or home delivery of fresh and frozen produce), and online SNAP acceptance (ie, availability of online SNAP), at the census tract level (n = 2,162). Statistical analyses performed: PRRs for availability of healthy online grocery shopping and SNAP online acceptance at the census tract level (n = 2,162) were modeled using Poisson regression with robust standard errors. Results: This study found disparities in access to healthy online grocery shopping and SNAP online shopping availability in North Carolina. Healthy online shopping availability rates were higher in urban census tracts (PRR 1.68, 95% CI 1.47 to 1.92), areas with lower Social Vulnerability Index scores (PRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98 to 0.99), higher Internet Availability Index scores (PRR 1.21, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.25), and lower percent poverty (PRR 0.94, 95% CI 0.90 to 0.98). SNAP online shopping availability rates were higher in urban census tracts (PRR 1.41, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.65), areas with higher Social Vulnerability Index scores (PRR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.04), higher Internet Availability Index scores (PRR 1.15, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.20), and higher percent minority (PRR 1.02, 95% CI 1.0001 to 1.03). SNAP online shopping availability rates were lower in areas with higher percent poverty (PRR 0.90, 95% CI 0.85 to 0.95). Conclusions: This study found disparities in access to healthy online grocery shopping and SNAP online shopping for rural areas, and areas with higher poverty, and lower broadband Internet access in North Carolina. Further research is needed to identify effective strategies for addressing these disparities.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics|
|State||Published - Nov 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT This project was funded by University of North Carolina Greensboro internal funds.
© 2022 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Food environment
- Geographic information systems
- Online grocery shopping
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Nutrition and Dietetics