Geography & Environment Publications

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Publication Date

Spring 6-15-2021






Annals of the American Association of Geographers

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Geographers and public health researchers have long been interested in social, spatial, and economic factors that drive access and exposure to food retail. A growing body of evidence draws on mobility data to capture locations accessed by individuals beyond the home address. Given that food-related activities are shared by household members and often gendered, taking an individual-level approach might limit researchers’ ability to accurately describe access to food retail. Using data that includes Global Positioning System trajectories of forty-six adults from twenty-one households in Toronto, this study compares access to food retailers at the individual and household levels and evaluates measurement issues that arise when relying on one household member. Spatial and spatiotemporal measures of access were derived from individual and total household activity spaces. Differences in access were tested for men and women and moderating effects of neighborhood, shopping responsibility, car access, and employment status were investigated. Supermarket density was greater for women when compared with men in the household, as well as their total household measure. Additionally, within-household differences in counts of supermarkets were moderated by neighborhood. Future research should consider the role of place and the contributions of household members when measuring access to food at the individual level.

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