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Community-Based Participatory Approach to Increase African Americans’ Access to Healthy Foods in Atlanta, GA

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African Americans in Atlanta, Georgia disproportionately reside in communities with limited access to healthy foods. Collaborations with local corner stores to provide healthy food options have been identified as an evidence-based intervention that could be used to increase food access. This paper describes the community-based participatory approach used to culturally-tailor a Healthy Corner Store Initiative (HCSI) in five Atlanta communities. A mixed method approach (qualitative/quantitative) was utilized. Spatial analysis and an environmental assessment were conducted to locate all corner stores in the partner communities that were listed in a business database. An environmental assessment was conducted at 34 corner stores using a structured log and checklist. Among them, 11 were selected and signed memorandums of understanding to implement the HCSI. A customer intercept survey was administered to 100 African American corner store customers at five of the healthy corner store sites. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze log/checklist and survey data. Corner store customers indicated that they typically purchase snacks, tobacco, and breads, but would purchase certain healthy foods, if offered. They also indicated that freshness of fruits and vegetables and positive relationships with corner store owners would influence healthy food purchases. Findings demonstrate that working collaboratively with community members, researchers and business owners is a critical step in nurturing trust, strengthening credibility, and building partnerships towards increased healthy food access and improved community health.

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This work is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Grant No. 5 NU58DP005945-02-00) through the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Program. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

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Correspondence to Latrice Rollins.

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Rollins, L., Carey, T., Proeller, A. et al. Community-Based Participatory Approach to Increase African Americans’ Access to Healthy Foods in Atlanta, GA. J Community Health 46, 41–50 (2021).

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