Developing multidimensional measures of healthy food access among low-income adults in Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Susan A. Flocke, Punam Ohri-Vachispati, En Jung Shon, Erika S. Trapl, Elaine Borawski, Kristen Matlack, Darcy A. Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective Access to nutritious foods is key to achieving health promotion goals. While there is evidence that nutritious food access is complex, measures assessing multiple domains of access, including spatial-temporal, economic, social, service delivery and personal, are lacking. The current study evaluates psychometric properties of scales designed to measure perceptions of multiple domains of nutritious food access among low-income populations. Design A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2015. Eighty-one items were selected or developed to represent five domains of nutritious food access for food shopping overall and specific to shopping at farmers' markets. Evaluation of the items included exploratory factor analysis within each domain and internal consistency reliability for each of the sub-scales. Setting Data were collected in seventeen urban neighbourhoods in Greater Cleveland, Ohio, USA that have high levels of poverty. All participants had access to at least one farmers' market within 1·6 km (1 mile) of their home to standardize spatial access to nutritious foods. Subjects Adults (n 304) receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Results Each domain included multiple sub-domains: spatial-temporal (four), service delivery (two), economic (two), social (three) and personal (three), for a total of fourteen subdomains. The internal consistency reliability for one of the sub-domains was outstanding (>0·90), seven were excellent (0·80-0·89), five were very good (0·70-0·79) and one scale had poor reliability (0·58). Conclusions Multiple sub-domains of nutritious food access can be assessed using short measures that have been tested for internal consistency. These measures are suitable for assessing the complex phenomena of nutritious food access among low-income populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2859-2868
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number16
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Farmers' markets
  • Food access
  • Food environment
  • Health promotion
  • Low-income populations
  • Measurement
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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