Multilevel Correlates of Satisfaction with Neighborhood Availability of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

 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, 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 further from a supermarket and that had proportionately more African-American residents. Neighborhood poverty and independently observed neighborhood fruit and vegetable characteristics (variety, prices, quality) were not associated with satisfaction. Individual education modified relationships between neighborhood availability of smaller food stores (small grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores) and satisfaction.
Conclusions
Individual-level and neighborhood-level factors affect perceptions of neighborhood food environments.