Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Epidemiology and Biostatistics

First Advisor

Angela Liese


Eating identity is shown to be a promising measure capable of enhancing our understanding of nutrition behavior. Persons with healthy eating identities are less likely to consume the typical American diet and report healthier diets in general. While there are several studies linking healthy eating identity and diet, there is currently no research examining healthy eating identity in relation to food shopping behavior, an important aspect of nutritional intake. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of healthy eating identity on shopping behaviors including supermarket utilization, supercenter utilization, likelihood of shopping at the nearest store, distance to the primary store, distance between nearest and utilized store, shopping frequency, and shopping miles. A cross-sectional telephone survey of 780 household food shoppers from an eight-county region in South Carolina ascertained information on Eating Identity Type Inventory (EITI), food shopping behaviors, and demographic factors. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to generate shopping distance measures. Four general model structures were considered for linear and logistic regression analyses of each of the outcome variables. The unstandardized regression coefficient for healthy eating identity was reported for linear models, and odds ratios were reported for logistic models. There was no evidence of a significant association between healthy eating identity and the shopping behaviors of interest at the 0.05 alpha level. Though not significant, associations were positive for supermarket utilization, distance between nearest and utilized store, and shopping miles and negative for supercenter utilization and likelihood of shopping at the nearest store as expected. Findings suggest a modifying effect of urbanicity on the relationship between healthy eating identity and likelihood of shopping at the nearest store as well as distance to the primary store. The results imply that healthy eating identity may exert more of an influence on shopping behaviors in urban participants compared to non-urban participants. Studying urban and non-urban areas separately is advisable for future studies to determine whether healthy eating identity exerts a significant influence on food shopping behaviors in either of these environments.

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