Duh: Poor people have less access to healthy food
The report in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine looked at a wide selection of other studies to come to the conclusion that poorer neighborhoods have plenty of fast food and less healthy food to choose from.
"The research I reviewed suggests there is a need for new policies and other local actions to address the problem of poor access to healthy foods in many lower income, rural, and minority communities," Larson told Reuters Health.
Evidence is mounting, Larson and her team note, that segregation of neighborhoods by "income, race, and ethnicity" plays a major role in US health disparities, and accessibility to healthy -- and unhealthy -- food may be a factor.
To investigate, they reviewed studies published between 1985 and 2008 that looked at food access by neighborhood in the United States. While supermarkets are likely to sell the widest variety of healthy foods at the cheapest prices, convenience stores usually charge more, and tend not to sell fresh food, the researchers note in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The studies they reviewed confirmed that minority and low-income individuals who live near supermarkets have healthier diets. For example, one investigation found that the likelihood that African-Americans would meet guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption rose by 32% with every additional supermarket located in the census tract where they lived.Anyone who lives, works or has traveled through a poorer neighborhood could have told you that less fortunate neighborhoods have more McDonalds, Dennys, and KFCs than the McMansion areas. There are some pretty obvious reasons for this: fast food is fast (duh) and really cheap. You can get a whole lunch for $3 rather than buying an $8 sandwich at a more upscale place downtown. If every dollar counts, why would you go buy organic apples and rob your paycheck?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.