Measuring availability of healthful foods in two rural Texas counties
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A comprehensive in-store survey may capture the availability of healthful food alternatives in different store types in two rural counties. The purpose of this study was to: (1) compare the availability of healthful foods in two rural Texas counties; and (2) compare the variety of healthful foods in two rural Texas counties. This study also acts as a pilot test for further food availability research in four other rural counties of the Brazos Valley. An unobtrusive, observational survey was used to measure availability of healthful food in all (100%) grocery, convenience, and discount stores (n=44) in two rural counties in the Brazos Valley of Texas. Results from the surveys indicated that availability of healthful food alternatives varied greatly among the three different store types and two counties surveyed. Grocery stores (n=7) were more likely than convenience (n=31) and discount (n=6) stores to offer fresh fruits and vegetables, leanmeat options, and low-fat/skim milk products. Fresh fruits and vegetables were available in 100% of grocery stores. Only 16.1% of convenience stores, compared with 0.0% in discount stores, offered fresh fruits and vegetables. Variety of fruits and vegetables varied greatly among the three different store types and the two counties surveyed. Findings suggest that the survey utilized was feasible in determining the availability of healthful food items in two rural counties. Implications of this study include the need for knowledge and awareness of rural consumers and rural food supply. Furthermore, nutrition education for rural consumers and those purchasing foods provided to rural areas is desired. This study provided that further investigation into the availability of healthful foods in rural areas is needed.
Bustillos, Brenda Diane (2006). Measuring availability of healthful foods in two rural Texas counties. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from