Community capacity for cancer prevention

Ransom, Pamela E.; Wei, Ying; Stellman, Steven D.

We pilot-tested a street-level study of availability of physical resources to assess ethnic disparities in community capacity for cancer prevention in forty Brooklyn, NY, census tracts with high proportions of White, African American, or Jamaican immigrant populations. Interns with GIS maps made street-level inventories of food retailers, fast-food restaurants, and commercial exercise facilities. Availability was quantified as resources per capita or square mile. Median income-adjusted number of supermarkets, greengrocers and fast-food restaurants per square mile was significantly higher in Jamaican than in African American or White tracts. Bodegas per capita was greatest in African American tracts, with no significant differences among the population groups in availability of health food stores, or commercial exercise venues.


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Journal of Health and Human Services Administration

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August 14, 2014


From Steven Stellman: The concept of "food deserts" and geographic mapping of food resources have become important tools in identification and reduction of disparities in health-related resources. This study grew out of an NCI-supported partnership between the cancer center at Columbia University and Long Island University, which serves a minority population in Brooklyn. It is one of the earliest studies to use street by street canvassing of retail food establishments in order to assess availability of healthful foods in different ethnic neighborhoods.