The Earliest Food Deserts: Availability of Infant and Follow-on Formula, and Lactation Support Products among Stores in Black and Non-Hispanic White Zip Codes in Los Angeles County

Kacie C.A. Blackman, Sabrina Smiley, Wenonah Valentine, Lisa Chaudhari, Patty Kwan, Wyconda Cotton-Curtis, Carrie Saetermoe, Thomas Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: This study investigates the availability, accessibility, and product depth of in-store infant feeding and galactagogues products in majority Black and majority white zip codes in Los Angeles County. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine racial/ethnic neighborhood differences in the availability of infant and follow-on formula and galactagogues products in 47 retail stores in 21 zip codes. Store-level data were collected in June 2019 and an observational tool for galactagogues products and infant/follow-on formula (availability, accessibility, product depth) was employed at each store. Results: Most of the stores were grocery stores (87.2%). Stores in majority Black zip codes had less availability of infant formula ready-to-use (p = 0.001), less accessibility of follow-on powder (p = 0.028), and availability of galactagogues beverages (p = 0.036) versus majority white zip codes. Product depth (number of brands sold) of stores with one or more brands of the aforementioned products was consistently higher in majority white zip codes compared to majority Black zip codes. Stores in majority Black zip codes were most likely to have lower availability of infant formula and galactagogues products, an important part of the food environment for infant feeding options, in particular, for lactation support. Conclusions for Practice: Most studies investigating the association of the food environment and health outcomes have focused only on solid foods. However, additional food products (e.g., liquids, powders) may be contributors to extensive disparities in infant mortality between Black and white infants and may lead to health disparities beyond infant stage (e.g., children, adolescents, and adults). Lastly, for breastfeeding inequities to decrease, pregnant and postpartum Black persons need equitable access and education on safe and quality galactagogues products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Black
  • Breastfeeding
  • Child health
  • Food access
  • Food environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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