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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 231489, 8 pages
Research Article

Food Access Patterns and Barriers among Midlife and Older Adults with Mobility Disabilities

1Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (S-182), 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108, USA
2Group Health Research Institute, 1730 Minor Avenue, Suite 1600, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
3Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington, P.O. Box 357266, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
4Health Promotion Research Center, University of Washington, P. O. Box 357266, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Received 2 May 2012; Accepted 16 August 2012

Academic Editor: Joseph R. Sharkey

Copyright © 2012 Deborah L. Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We examined where midlife and older adults with a mobility disability accessed food outside the home in King County, Washington, USA, how they travelled to these food destinations, and facilitators and barriers to food access using qualitative interviews. Thirty-five adults aged ≥50 years with a mobility disability (defined as use of an assistive device for mobility) were interviewed. Supplemental objective information was obtained from a Global Positioning System device worn by participants for 3 days. Participants primarily accessed food at grocery stores, restaurants, and coffee shops/cafés. The most common transportation modes were walking, obtaining a ride from friends, motorized chair/scooter, and public transit. Location and proximity of food destinations were factors affecting participants’ ability to access these destinations. Adequate space, ease of entry, available amenities such as restrooms, and helpful people were facilitators for participants to access food outside the home.