Barriers to buying healthy foods for people with diabetes: evidence of environmental disparities

Am J Public Health. 2004 Sep;94(9):1549-54. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.9.1549.


Objectives: A community coalition compared the availability and cost of diabetes-healthy foods in a racial/ethnic minority neighborhood in East Harlem, with those in the adjacent, largely White and affluent Upper East Side in New York City.

Methods: We documented which of 173 East Harlem and 152 Upper East Side grocery stores stocked 5 recommended foods.

Results: Overall, 18% of East Harlem stores stocked recommended foods, compared with 58% of stores in the Upper East Side (P <.0001). Only 9% of East Harlem bodegas (neighborhood stores) carried all items (vs 48% of Upper East Side bodegas), though East Harlem had more bodegas. East Harlem residents were more likely than Upper East Side residents (50% vs 24%) to have stores on their block that did not stock recommended foods and less likely (26% vs 30%) to have stores on their block that stocked recommended foods.

Conclusions: A greater effort needs to be made to make available stores that carry diabetes-healthy foods.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Planning / methods
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diet, Diabetic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food, Organic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data