Perceptions of the local food environment among low-income residents of Athens, Georgia
Wilson, Sarah Brooks
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The study aimed to understand how low-income individuals in Athens, GA viewed their food environment. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted in a convenience sample of low-income housing residents in Athens, Georgia (n = 28). Interviews assessed how respondents thought about their food environment, produce acquisition, food choice, and shopping behavior. Demographic, socioeconomic, food security, general health and anthropometric data were also assessed through interviews. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded. Emerging themes and categories were identified using a constant-comparison method. Data triangulation assessed validity of interview data. Participants used multiple food resources to obtain food. The way resources were used was influenced by several inter-related factors: money and other resources to obtain food, food resource characteristics, transportation, health and eating healthy, household composition, and daily schedule. This study suggests choice of food resource, patterns of resource use and kinds of foods obtained using food resources among low-income individuals is complex.