Aim: Aboriginal people living in remote communities experience high levels of chronic illness partly as a result of diet-related body mass index above 25 kg/m2. Remote stores are typically the only source of food and store nutrition policies are effective in enabling better health for community residents by changing product lines. The aim of the present study was to examine trends in purchasing patterns of sugar-sweetened water-based beverages in a remote Aboriginal community store following the implementation of a community-developed store nutrition policy.
Methods: Documents outlining the objectives and strategies of the store policy were examined. Store sales data were quantified to determine changes in purchasing patterns, volume of beverages sold, sugar and energy purchased before and after the withdrawal of the three highest selling sugar-sweetened water-based beverages.
Results: The community-developed policy was effective in implementing changes to product lines sold in the remote Aboriginal store. The withdrawal of the three top selling sugar-sweetened water-based beverages did not affect the total volume of all beverages sold but a shift in purchasing trends towards beverages with lower or zero sugar content resulted in a reduction in sugar and kilojoules consumed through water-based beverages.
Conclusion: The approach of a community-driven store nutrition policy described here was successful and could be applied to other products in store that provide excess kilojoules with minimal nutritional benefit. The policy and aspects of implementation could also be applied in other remote Aboriginal communities.
Key words: purchasing pattern, remote Aboriginal community, store.