Measuring healthy food access in Sandwell

A project to measure healthy food access in Sandwell, United Kingdom used innovative quantitative and qualitative tools to measure and map food access using GIS and community participatory mapping. Results of the project contributed to local baseline indicators of conditions and needs, and the development of strategies to address poor access to healthy foods.

Project aims and objectives were to:
  • produce indices of access to healthy food, using systematic quantitative and qualitative survey instruments with GIS software to generate maps of food access
  • develop a ‘community-based shopping list’ of acceptable foods which contribute to a healthy diet
  • survey distance to shops, cost and availability of healthy food, in a geographically defined area
  • combine the information generated using GIS techniques to produce measurable indicators of local food access by constructing maps
  • involve local communities and small business retailers in measuring food access and in constructing potential local solutions
  • contribute to local health promotion and anti-poverty strategies
  • contribute to the need for indicators of healthy food access and mapping.1