Background: Little is known about influences on perceptions of neighborhood food environments, despite their relevance for food-shopping behaviors and food choices.
Purpose: This study examined relationships between multilevel factors (neighborhood structure, independently observed neighborhood food environment, and individual socioeconomic position) and satisfaction with neighborhood availability of fruits and vegetables.
Methods: The multilevel regression analysis drew on data from a community survey of urban adults, in-person audit and mapping of food stores, and the 2000 Census.
Results: Satisfaction with neighborhood availability of fruits and vegetables was lower in neighborhoods that were farther from a supermarket and that had proportionately more African-American residents. Neighborhood poverty and independently observed neighborhood fruit and vegetable characteristics (variety, prices, and quality) were not associated with satisfaction. Individual education modified relationships between neighborhood availability of smaller food stores (small grocery stores, convenience stores, and liquor stores) and satisfaction.
Conclusions: Individual-level and neighborhood-level factors affect perceptions of neighborhood food environments.