Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Volume 22, Number 4, November 2011
pp. 1205-1220 | 10.1353/hpu.2011.0142
Background. We examined perceptions of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the food environment among African Americans (AA) with high blood pressure living in two low-income communities and objectively assessed local food outlets. Methods. Focus groups were conducted with 30 AAs; participants discussed DASH and the availability of healthy foods in their community. Sessions were transcribed and themes identified. Fifty-four stores and 114 restaurants were assessed using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey (NEMS). Results. Common themes included poor availability, quality, and cost of healthy foods; tension between following DASH and feeding other family members; and lack of congruity between their preferred foods and DASH. Food outlets in majority AA census tracts had lower NEMS scores (stores: -11.7, p=.01, restaurants: -8.3, p=.001) compared with majority White areas. Conclusions. Interventions promoting DASH among lower income AAs should reflect the food customs, economic concerns, and food available in communities.