Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Food Environments and Healthy Eating in Rural Maine [completed]

1/1/2008 - 1/28/2010
Kimberley Fox, MPA

This project investigates food environments in rural areas of Maine that are at-risk of greater rates of childhood obesity 1) to assess how healthful food availability/affordability impacts eating behaviors or create barriers to eating healthy foods among children aged 6-12 and 2) to identify potential policy and programmatic options specific to rural communities for addressing gaps identified. This work builds on previous work to define the built and natural environmental factors that support and limit daily physical activity of youth in rural communities. Utilizing tested food audit tools, we will assess healthfulness and affordability of neighborhood food outlets in 3-4 high-risk rural, low-income communities. Utilizing qualitative methods, we will also recruit students in lower and middle school to provide information about their eating habits and their perceptions of food environments that support or create barriers to healthy eating. This information will be used to develop a conceptual model about environmental and policy characteristics that positively and/or negatively impact healthy eating of youth specifically in rural areas. This project provides a strategic opportunity to increase the School's Public Health capacity and foster collaboration between academic and research programs.

Start Date: 
Tue, 2008-01-01
End Date: 
Thu, 2010-01-28
Legacy Muskie ID: