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Open Access Research article

There’s more to food store choice than proximity: a questionnaire development study

Rebecca A Krukowski1*, Carla Sparks2, Marisha DiCarlo3, Jean McSweeney4 and Delia Smith West3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 66 N. Pauline St, Memphis, TN, USA

2 Office of Community Based Public Health, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St. #820, Little Rock, AR, USA

3 Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St. #820, Little Rock, AR, USA

4 College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St. #529, Little Rock, AR, USA

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:586  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-586

Published: 17 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Proximity of food stores is associated with dietary intake and obesity; however, individuals frequently shop at stores that are not the most proximal. Little is known about other factors that influence food store choice. The current research describes the development of the Food Store Selection Questionnaire (FSSQ) and describes preliminary results of field testing the questionnaire.

Methods

Development of the FSSQ involved a multidisciplinary literature review, qualitative analysis of focus group transcripts, and expert and community reviews. Field testing consisted of 100 primary household food shoppers (93% female, 64% African American), in rural and urban Arkansas communities, rating FSSQ items as to their importance in store choice and indicating their top two reasons. After eliminating 14 items due to low mean importance scores and high correlations with other items, the final FSSQ questionnaire consists of 49 items.

Results

Items rated highest in importance were: meat freshness; store maintenance; store cleanliness; meat varieties; and store safety. Items most commonly rated as top reasons were: low prices; proximity to home; fruit/vegetable freshness; fruit/vegetable variety; and store cleanliness.

Conclusions

The FSSQ is a comprehensive questionnaire for detailing key reasons in food store choice. Although proximity to home was a consideration for participants, there were clearly other key factors in their choice of a food store. Understanding the relative importance of these different dimensions driving food store choice in specific communities may be beneficial in informing policies and programs designed to support healthy dietary intake and obesity prevention.

Keywords:
Food store; Health promotion; Obesity; Diet; Questionnaire