Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Yujie Hu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Reader, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joni Downs, Ph.D.


Cumulative Opportunity Measure, Fresh, GIS, Prepared


In the Tampa Bay region, increasing population and changing demographics have begun to alter the characteristics of established neighborhoods. An increase in suburban growth has triggered a shift in the location and profitability of food establishments in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods. Supermarket closures have garnered attention from public health officials who are concerned with the overall availability of fresh food throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Unfortunately, there has been little research surrounding the quality of food sold at establishments in both the Tampa Bay region and abroad. Instead, many geographic studies have chosen to group both fresh and prepared food establishments into a singular category for analyses. While helpful for a generalized understanding of food access overall, these methods do little to convey access to fresh foods which are essential for a balanced diet. This study offers a different perspective from traditional food access studies by categorizing food stores into fresh and prepared categories. For each food category, the Cumulative Opportunity Measure (COM) was first applied to measure food accessibility at the census block group level; a descriptive analysis was then employed to examine the relations between food accessibility and socioeconomic variables. In order to provide a meaningful comparison, these same steps were taken to emulate the results of the combined model (fresh and prepared) that is often utilized in previous studies. Finally, a map displaying the COM ratio of fresh to prepared food by block group was created to highlight areas with disproportionately more fresh (or prepared) food opportunities. Results indicate that rural may be at a disadvantage with respect to fresh food accessibility. Also, a discrepancy between the fresh model and the prepared and combined models, in relation to female headed households, may indicate that food establishment classification has a significant effect on food accessibility. Overall, positive relationships were observed between factors relating to minority status, no GED, room occupancy, public assistance, limited English, poverty, and lack of vehicle ownership for the fresh, prepared, and combined food accessibility models. Finally, the ratio of fresh to prepared food establishments could explain why some populations exhibit higher rates of obesity even when in direct proximity to fresh food opportunities.