The availability of public transportation and access to gluten-free products in a rural community in the Northwest
Slayton, Ashley Lynn.
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Access to gluten-free foods among elderly individuals with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, is a growing concern in the United States. Because of the inability of individuals with celiac disease to absorb nutrients appropriately, the potential for a variety of other physiological problems, such as malnutrition, neurological complications, vitamin K deficiency and osteoporosis exist. The purpose of this project was to describe the availability of public transportation as well as the availability and cost of gluten-free food products in stores within a rural community in the Western United States. Managers of five rural stores that sold grocery products provided written permission for a survey titled Tool for Analysis of the Availability of Gluten-Free Foods in Local Grocery Stores to be used in their store. The tool identified unprocessed fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, cheeses and dairy products and a variety of alternatives to wheat containing products. Food items were assessed at each of the stores within a one-week time period. Information about hours of service, as well as, cost and location of rider drop-offs were obtained from the community bus station that offers three services. Findings from this project may serve as a resource to local community health care providers who provide information for persons on limited incomes, with limited access to transportation, and special dietary needs.