Date of Conferral





Health Services


Michael Dunn


Childhood obesity remains prevalent among African American (AA) adolescents in low income neighborhoods with limited access to a variety of foods from stores. Guided by the ecological framework, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of neighborhood stores on food choices, and physical activity among AA adolescents in a low income neighborhood. A quantitative research design with cross sectional primary and secondary surveys was used. Participants included 176 high school students and 42 store merchants. Data sources were the 2011 New Jersey Student Health Survey with core questions from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the Hmong Food Store Survey. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample characteristics and food store food variety and cost. Inferential statistics were used in analyzing the association between the dependent variable (grade level, age, or gender) and the independent variables, food choices and physical activity level, and to test for hypotheses. The findings revealed there were no significant associations between grade level, age, or gender and food choices, or physical activity level. Food variety reported as MyPlate food items were low for adolescents who shopped at small grocery and convenience stores as compared to those who shopped at supermarket and large grocery stores. Average cost differed by, MyPlate food groups and store type. Convenience stores had the lowest costs for fruits, grains, and protein, and highest for diary, reflecting the lack of variety in the mix of foods used to calculate costs. This study demonstrated the need for policy change at the community that will benefit disadvantaged AA adolescents in low income neighborhoods and improve access to a variety of food choices for purchase that are nutritious and affordable.