An integrative literature review of small food store research across urban and rural communities in the U.S.
Shanks, C. Byker
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Objective. The purpose of this review was to identify how rural and urban food access differs across small food stores as well as the types of research strategies andmethodologies that have been applied in each setting in the U.S. Methods. Manuscripts were included in the review if they were published in English over the past ten years, with a clear delineation between urban and/or rural, conducted in the U.S., and reported data from small food store research. Results. After elimination, 19 manuscripts representing rural (n=5) and urban (n=14) settingswere included in the final review. The review was conducted in Nebraska between January 2015 and May 2015. Findings from the reviewed manuscripts revealed that rural communities might face different challenges with healthy food access in small food stores when compared to urban settings. In particular, small food stores in rural areas lacked healthy food options largely because storeowners perceived that their customers would not purchase healthier items and due to challenges with distribution. Conversely, studies reporting on small food stores in urban areas suggest challenges with transportation and safety concerns. Conclusion. Research on small food stores is nascent and further research, especially intervention studies, is needed. Further, less evidence exists on healthy food access, in particular intervention testing on small food store research in rural areas.