The current study I conduct a qualitative inquiry into how and

The current study I conduct a qualitative inquiry into how and why vital places may facilitate both behavioral and social mechanisms related to better health within the context of a federally-subsidized, low-income housing neighborhood. I examine residents’ subjective perceptions and uses of three particular vital places in the neighborhood ?an ethnic grocery store, a nearby park, and neighborhood courtyards. Based on the analyses of particular places, I generate a set of broad principles about the features of vital places that may enable both healthy lifestyles and supportive social relationships. Exploring the ways residents use and interpret each of these places offers policy insight into the utility of investing in vital places in order to support health in low-income neighborhoods. Bayview residents identified the ethnic grocery as a vital place in their neighborhood. Recent studies show that, compared to predominantly-white neighborhoods, minority Valsartan/sacubitril chemical information neighborhoods have half as many supermarkets, which tend to offer nutritious foods at lower cost (Eisenhauer, 2001), and fewer stores that offer fruit and vegetables (Moore Diez Roux, 2006). Similarly, Horowitz and colleagues (2004) found that those stores thatSoc Sci Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 April 07.WaltonPageare located in minority neighborhoods are less likely to carry a selection of healthy foods; eighteen percent of bodegas in minority neighborhoods carry health foods compared to 58 in predominantly-white areas. Affordability seems to be especially important in food choices, given research showing that having a low income is a substantial deterrent of a healthy diet (Curtis McClellan, 1995), and that the poor engage in various adaptive strategies to meet daily caloric demands, like purchasing more energy-dense and processed foods at convenience stores to avoid travel-related costs (Adelaja et al., 1997). Thus, it may truly be unusual, and therefore particularly important, for a poor, multiethnic neighborhood to have access to the variety of healthy, affordable foods that the ethnic grocery offers. The convenience, comprehensiveness, and affordability of the ethnic grocery make it an important destination among the residents of Bayview. These findings suggest policies aimed at supporting the location of an ethnically-responsive store within walking distance of poor neighborhoods (by providing financial incentives or enabling the formation of partnerships between businesses and local communities) have the potential to reduce health disparities by facilitating a healthy diet among those with limited JC-1 web resources. Though these analyses focused on an ethnic grocery store, understanding the features that make the grocery vital allows us to make connections to other healthy food sources, like community gardens (Armstrong, 2000), farmers’ markets (Larsen Gilliland, 2009), street vendors (Morales Kettles, 2009), and programs connecting local farmers with neighborhood convenience stores (Levy, 2007; Sandoval et al., 2012). Conceiving of healthy food sources as vital places that can sustain health in multiple ways provides an expanded notion of food access with direct policy implications. Not only do we need to think about locating healthy food options in underserved areas (Story et al., 2008), but we should consider the particular neighborhood context and the characteristics that make a food source vital to residents. In the case of the Bayview neighborhood, where.The current study I conduct a qualitative inquiry into how and why vital places may facilitate both behavioral and social mechanisms related to better health within the context of a federally-subsidized, low-income housing neighborhood. I examine residents’ subjective perceptions and uses of three particular vital places in the neighborhood ?an ethnic grocery store, a nearby park, and neighborhood courtyards. Based on the analyses of particular places, I generate a set of broad principles about the features of vital places that may enable both healthy lifestyles and supportive social relationships. Exploring the ways residents use and interpret each of these places offers policy insight into the utility of investing in vital places in order to support health in low-income neighborhoods. Bayview residents identified the ethnic grocery as a vital place in their neighborhood. Recent studies show that, compared to predominantly-white neighborhoods, minority neighborhoods have half as many supermarkets, which tend to offer nutritious foods at lower cost (Eisenhauer, 2001), and fewer stores that offer fruit and vegetables (Moore Diez Roux, 2006). Similarly, Horowitz and colleagues (2004) found that those stores thatSoc Sci Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2015 April 07.WaltonPageare located in minority neighborhoods are less likely to carry a selection of healthy foods; eighteen percent of bodegas in minority neighborhoods carry health foods compared to 58 in predominantly-white areas. Affordability seems to be especially important in food choices, given research showing that having a low income is a substantial deterrent of a healthy diet (Curtis McClellan, 1995), and that the poor engage in various adaptive strategies to meet daily caloric demands, like purchasing more energy-dense and processed foods at convenience stores to avoid travel-related costs (Adelaja et al., 1997). Thus, it may truly be unusual, and therefore particularly important, for a poor, multiethnic neighborhood to have access to the variety of healthy, affordable foods that the ethnic grocery offers. The convenience, comprehensiveness, and affordability of the ethnic grocery make it an important destination among the residents of Bayview. These findings suggest policies aimed at supporting the location of an ethnically-responsive store within walking distance of poor neighborhoods (by providing financial incentives or enabling the formation of partnerships between businesses and local communities) have the potential to reduce health disparities by facilitating a healthy diet among those with limited resources. Though these analyses focused on an ethnic grocery store, understanding the features that make the grocery vital allows us to make connections to other healthy food sources, like community gardens (Armstrong, 2000), farmers’ markets (Larsen Gilliland, 2009), street vendors (Morales Kettles, 2009), and programs connecting local farmers with neighborhood convenience stores (Levy, 2007; Sandoval et al., 2012). Conceiving of healthy food sources as vital places that can sustain health in multiple ways provides an expanded notion of food access with direct policy implications. Not only do we need to think about locating healthy food options in underserved areas (Story et al., 2008), but we should consider the particular neighborhood context and the characteristics that make a food source vital to residents. In the case of the Bayview neighborhood, where.

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