Study Revisits the Connection Between “Food Deserts” and ObesityPosted on April 19th, 2012 No comments
The notion of “food deserts” has been around for awhile now. The idea that low-income urban areas are full of fast-food restaurants and corner stores with limited options while being devoid of places with adequate healthy choices like supermarkets and grocery stores has been a driving force in the battle over obesity facing children in the city. But now, a couple of studies that have recently been released question the connection and state that there is no relationship between obesity and the type of food available in a neighborhood.
These studies show that, yes, there are a plethora of fast food establishments and corner stores in urban neighborhoods, but there are also many supermarkets, grocery stores and other places with healthy options nearby as well. These studies may shed some light on why obesity levels have pretty much remain unchanged for years but they are not without their limitations. For example, the researchers look at places that sold food but not how obese people were. Other studies used larger geographic segments, like areas based on zip codes, for their research which would yield more diverse results and not necessarily isolate areas of low income.
Regardless of the results, it’s clear that just having easy access to healthy food options is not the only answer to stall obesity. This needs to be married to educating kids and parents on the benefits of better eating and making sure these options are first and foremost in city schools. For more information on the studies, click here to read the full New York Times article on them.
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