African American Women's Perceptions on Access to Food and Water in Flint, Michigan

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Abstract

Objective:

To explore the perceptions of food access by African American women in Flint, MI.

Methods:

Using womanist theory, in which African American women's experiential knowledge centered the analysis, 8 focus groups were conducted during fall/spring, 2014–2015. Seventeen mothers aged 21–50 years with children aged <18 years and 13 women aged >60 years comprised the groups.

Results:

The high cost of water, poor availability of healthy foods in inner-city stores, and limited transportation were barriers to accessing healthy food. Conversely, receiving food from food giveaways, friends, and family, as well as access to transportation facilitated food access. These women also reported discriminatory experiences and diet-related health concerns. Participants were keenly aware of available free community resources and gender, racial, and income barriers to accessing them.

Conclusion and Implications:

Understanding these barriers and facilitators provides information to aid local food policy assistance decisions and inform community-based interventions, especially given the lead contamination of water and the purported importance of a healthy diet to sequester lead.

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