From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Evaluating the Health Effects of a Major Food Superstore

Completed Start date January 2002 End date Decemeber 2003


This two-year pilot project was funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme. The main aim of this study was to investigate the health impacts of a major food superstore (the Tesco St Rollox (Springburn) development) in a deprived urban neighbourhood.


We used a two-wave, 'before and after' cohort study design using a postal questionnaire survey of a random sample of adults from the postcode address file in Springburn (St Rollox) (the intervention neighbourhood), and a similar control neighbourhood (Shettleston). We also carried out focus-group interviews with a sub-sample of respondents from the questionnaire survey. The questionnaire survey collected a range of demographic and other data, and includes questions relating to self-reported health, psychological well-being, and food purchase and consumption patterns. A retail base survey was undertaken before and after the store opened.


This study aimed to assess the effect on fruit and vegetable consumption of the introduction of large scale food retailing in a deprived Scottish community. The main finding was that there was no effect on self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption.




Cummins S, Findlay A, Higgins C, Petticrew M, Sparks L, Thomson H. Reducing inequalities in health and diet: findings from a study on the impact of a food retail development. Environment and Planning A 2008;40:402-422

Cummins S, Findlay A, Petticrew M, Sparks L. Retail-led regeneration and store-switching behaviour. Journal of Retailing & Consumer Services 2008;15:288-295


Petticrew M, Cummins S, Sparks L, Findlay A. Validating health impact assessment: prediction is difficult (especially about the future). Environmental Impact Assessment Review 2007;27:101-107


Cummins S, Findlay A, Petticrew M, Sparks L. Healthy cities? The impact of food retail led regeneration on food access, choice and retail structure. Built Environment 2005;31:288-301

Cummins S, Petticrew M, Higgins C, Findlay A, Sparks L. Large-scale food retailing as intervention for diet and health: quasi-experimental evaluation of a natural experiment. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2005;59:1035-1040


Cummins S, Petticrew M, Sparks L, Findlay A, Higgins C. From steam engines to Sunny Delight [gallery]. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2005;59ID - 1937:1034

Cummins S, Petticrew M, Sparks L, Findlay A. Large scale food retail interventions and diet. BMJ 2005;330:683-4


Petticrew M, Cummins S, Ferrell C, Findlay A, Higgins C, Hoy C, Kearns A, Sparks L. Natural experiments: an underused tool for public health?. Public Health 2005;119:751-757


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