The Federal government will soon begin to examine American shopping patterns in order to find out where bureaucracy could best intervene in order to encourage Americans to make healthier choices with food purchases.
A $149,074 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant awarded to the University of Kentucky in April for the study titled, “Adolescent and Parent Food Activity Patterns as Drivers of Food Choice and Behaviors”, to track American food shopping habits.
The grant abstracts says, “There is limited research understanding how adolescents and their parents move within their daily lives which may influence their food choices and ultimately diet behavior.”
Researchers at the university will use the grant funds to provide families involved in a study with GPS tracking devices that will relate day-to-day travels with shopping habits.
“A lot of the work is on proximal deterrents — things that are close to you that would bring you to a store. For example, shopping venues that are in a person’s travel pattern – in their daily route, they may pass certain types of food establishments,” University of Kentucky professor Alison Gustafson told CNS.
“The GPS will help us map out a travel pattern, the geographic space and the number of food venues in this space. As well as the type — grocery stores, gas stations or super centers.”
Information from the study, and others like it, could be used by government officials to change zoning policies in order to ensure that healthy food establishments are in more abundance in heavily-traveled areas than less healthy options.