Skip to main content


Nicholas, Khristopher M.; Thompson, Amanda L.; Wasser, Heather M.; & Bentley, Margaret E. (2023). Healthy Home Food Environments of Pregnant Black Women Are Shaped by Food Outlet Access and Participation in Nutrition Assistance Programs. American Journal of Human Biology, 35(8), e23903.


OBJECTIVES: Improving access to healthy food in Black communities is imperative to combat intergenerational health disparities. Pregnant Black women represent an especially vulnerable population to multiple (and overlapping) sources of socioeconomic and political disenfranchisement and thus for whom maternal nutrition is crucial. This study aimed to (1) define household food environment types, (2) determine whether the distribution of community food outlets is associated with these household food environment types, and (3) determine whether the community-household food environment relationship differs by maternal education or participation in nutrition assistance programs.
METHODS: Cross-sectional data for pregnant Black women in North Carolina (n = 429) come from the Mothers & Others study, an obesity-prevention randomized control trial, with linked spatial data on all community food outlets (n = 6312) in the study area in 2015. Factor analysis was used to define household food environment types. These factor scores were regressed on access metrics to community food outlets. Adjusted linear regressions tested interaction by maternal education and nutrition assistance programs.
RESULTS: Four household food environment types were defined: Factor 1 (fresh fruits and vegetables (F/V), low snack), Factor 2 (canned F/V, sweet drinks), Factor 3 (dried/frozen F/V, candy), and Factor 4 (low F/V, soda). Having more convenience stores within 0.25 miles was associated with higher Factor 4 scores. No food outlets were associated with higher Factor 1 scores overall. However, SNAP or WIC participating households saw higher Factor 1 scores with increased access to supermarkets, convenience stores, and dollar stores.
CONCLUSIONS: Nutrition assistance programs play an important role as buffers against unhealthy community food environments which influence household food environments and maternal nutrition.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Nicholas, Khristopher M.
Thompson, Amanda L.
Wasser, Heather M.
Bentley, Margaret E.

Article Type


Data Set/Study

Mothers & Others Study


United States of America


North Carolina






Bentley - 0000-0002-1220-0208