Inequalities in Healthy Food availability: An Exploratory GIS Study of the Structural Disparities in Rural Food Retail Environments Among Low-Income Elderly Communities

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Geographically Northern Ireland has a high rural spatial periphery and sparsity, resulting in a dispersed population. Dispersed populations induce lower consumer demands, which in turn exerts influence on market-driven environments. Supply and demand are used to justify the urban centralisation of amenities, leaving rural territories with rudimentary service inadequacies, including food retailers. This rural-urban dichotomy in respect of food availability is an interceding factor in food dietary choice especially for low income elderly rural consumers. Previous research shows that dispersed service provisions significantly increase the impact of poverty experiences differently on rural dwellers, in comparison with their urban counterparts. Eating healthy, is a fundamental requisite for minimising malnourishment and associated chronic health related diseases. Older adults are the single largest demographic group at disproportionate risk of inadequate diets, meaning food availability within the spatial food retail macro-environment is not a mere fallacy but a concern that is inversely connected with household food insecurity and health inequalities. Previous food basket studies, encompassing the interplay between food availability, terrestrial location and socio-economic status have primarily focused on urban locations and a limited few have included a consensually agreed, nutritionally adequate basket with the local elderly population.

The aim of this research is to map and identify elderly rural communities polarised by their spatial distribution in terms of food availability within the food retail macro environment. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was used to map, retailer density, retailer proximity, socio-economic status and availability of a healthy food basket at the scale of Census Small Areas. Data was analysed using the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 24 software.

Preliminary results suggest that in comparison with urban areas, the availability of the healthy food basket is lower for elderly rural dwellers. This is most evident in the food categories of fruit, vegetables and meat.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Inequalities in Healthy Food availability: An Exploratory GIS Study of the Structural Disparities in Rural Food Retail Environments Among Low-Income Elderly Communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this