Agreement between the Perceived and Actual Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Environments among Low-Income Urban Women


The food environment is described by two measures: store-level (actual) and individual-level (perceived). Understanding the relationship between actual and perceived fruit and vegetable (F&V) nutrition environments is important as their association may influence F&V purchases and consumption. The study objective was to assess agreement between perceived and actual environment measures of availability, quality, and affordability/price for fresh and canned/frozen F&V. African American WIC recipients (n=84) self-reported perceptions corresponding to chain food stores (n=13) which were then assessed by surveyors. Nearly 80% of participants had positive perceptions of stores’ F&V availability, quality, and affordability. Store assessments indicated high F&V availability and quality and lowest prices for canned varieties. Kappa statistics, sensitivity, and specificity calculated agreement between perceived and actual measures. Results indicated slight to fair agreements. Agreements were highest for quality measures (kappa=0.25 (95% CI:0.08–0.42), p=.008). Research implications include promoting nutrition education and resident interviewing to understand F&V expectations.