Potential Full-Service Grocery Store Development in a Food Desert

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Health Impact Project

Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health, along with the Marion County Public Health Department and Indiana Minority Health Coalition, conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) of a potential full-service grocery store development in the neighborhood locally known as the Meadows, a federally-designated food desert on the northeast side of Indianapolis, Indiana. Access to fresh fruits and vegetables has the potential to impact the economic, social and health-related well-being of the community. The HIA utilized the Nutritional Environmental Measurement Survey (NEMS-S) to measure retail food stores for availability of healthy options, price, and quality in the three zip codes within a one mile radius of the proposed grocery store development (at the corner of E 38th Street and Meadows Drive). Using the NEMS-S found 11 convenience stores and no grocery stores in the area. The HIA also used a neighborhood survey, conducted key informant interviews, and attended a neighborhood association meeting.

Members of the community expressed support for a grocery store development in the Meadows. The assessment concluded that easier access to a grocery store would encourage the consumption of fresh produce. Dietary improvements can help to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It also found that a grocery store would improve the local economy by providing jobs, raising property values, and attracting other businesses.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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