Geographic disparities in accessibility to food stores in southwest Mississippi
Disparities in accessibility to healthy food are a critical public-health concern. Poor access to reasonably priced, nutritious, and good-quality food may lead to poor diet and increase the risks of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. This research advances the popular two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method by incorporating a kernel density (KD) function to form the ‘KD2SFCA method’. The study applies the method to measure the spatial access to food stores in southwest Mississippi, and examines the interaction between the spatial access and nonspatial factors. The research shows that neighborhoods with higher scores of urban socioeconomic disadvantage actually have better spatial accessibility to food stores; but higher percentages of carless households and lower income in some neighborhoods may compromise overall accessibility. Neighborhoods with stronger cultural barriers tend to be associated with poorer spatial accessibility. The study clearly differentiates spatial and nonspatial factors in access inequalities, and thus helps policy makers to design corresponding remedial strategies.
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