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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Health Education

First Advisor

Rachael R. Dombrowski


The purpose of this study describes the impact of SSB marketing on the nutritional behaviors of children aged 2-5 years old, particularly within immigrant families. This study took place within the independently owned grocers located in four health disparate cities: Detroit, Warren, Hamtramck, and Dearborn (DWHD). This study aimed to 1) understand the landscape of SSBs’ price, placement, and promotion to families of young children in grocery stores and 2) determine strategies to support reduced SSB consumption by young children. A mixed-methods design guided this explanatory sequential study. Differences in availability, accessibility, and affordability of SSBs within the grocers’ environments (n=78) were assessed using an enhanced Nutrition Environment Measure Survey (NEMS). NEMS scores of the DWHD group were compared to other grocers in Metro Detroit. The attitudes of parents (n=92) towards the impact of SSB marketing on the nutritional behaviors of their children were explored by conducting intercept customer surveys. Regarding determining promising strategies to support reduced SSB consumption among young children, surveyed immigrant parents (n=18) were interviewed. The study found the NEMS scores indicated that the DWHD group grocers have a higher abundance of SSBs than the Detroit grocers. SSB products were promoted using different tactics to families with young children. As a result, practicing healthy eating behaviors may have been more difficult for these targeted families, especially those living in low-income ethnic minority neighborhoods. Additionally, healthy beverage marketing received the highest rank as a promising strategy to support reduced SSB consumption among young children. Additionally, non-supportive grocery stores’ environments catalyze unhealthy eating habits among children. Acculturation to American food environments also deteriorates the health and wellness of children within immigrant families. When parallel efforts within the grocers support parents’ actions, it promotes healthy eating behaviors among children. Co-development of nutrition interventions with grocery store owners, along with creating conditions to make healthy choices, the easy choice should be further examined. Study results can increase the understanding of the implications that SSB marketing in grocer environments can impact the nutritional behaviors of young children. The results are especially important as it relates to early childhood obesity among marginalized communities.

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