Test-retest reliability of a questionnaire measuring perceptions of neighborhood food environment.

There is a lack of validated and reliable instruments on perception of the food environment, in particular for rural environments. We estimated the test-retest reliability of a questionnaire assessing perceptions of the food environment. A total of 101 primary food shoppers in South Carolina were interviewed by phone to assess their perceptions of the food environment and presence of different food outlet types in their neighborhood. The survey was repeated approximately one month after the initial administration. The intra-class correlation (ICC) and Phi coefficient are reported as measures of reliability. The majority of questions on perceptions of the neighborhood food environment appear highly reliable (ICCs range from 0.55 to 0.71), including the 3-item scale on healthy food availability (ICC 0.71). Compared to participants in rural areas, those in urban areas demonstrated better reliability for questions on opportunities to purchase fast food and perceived presence of a supercenter. More research is needed to evaluate potential rural-urban differences in reliability. Copyright 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.