Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 76


© 2018 by the authors.

Open access



The purpose of this convergent, multiphase, mixed methods study was to better understand the perceptions of adolescents’ food environments and related food behaviors using grounded visualization and story mapping. Adolescents from one high school (13–16 years) in the southeastern United States were evaluated via data from health behavior surveys (n = 75), school environment maps, focus groups (n = 5 groups), and Photovoice (n = 6) from October 2016 to April 2017. Data from each phase were integrated using grounded visualization and new themes were identified (n = 7). A story map using ArcGIS Online was developed from data integration, depicting the newly identified themes. Participants failed to meet national recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake (2.71 cups). Focus group and Photovoice findings indicated the need for convenience food items in all environments. The story map is an online, interactive dissemination of information, with five maps, embedded quotes from focus groups, narrative passages with data interpretation, pictures to highlight themes, and a comparison of the participants’ food environments. Story mapping and qualitative geographic information systems (GIS) approaches may be useful when depicting adolescent food environments and related food behaviors. Further research is needed when evaluating story maps and how individuals can be trained to create their own maps.