Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Food Deserts

James McWilliams discusses some options on reducing obesity, including this point:
There’s plenty of evidence supporting a strong correlation between ease of access to healthy food and reduced obesity risk. Similarly, there’s proof that those with limited access to healthy food spend less on it. Causation, though, is another matter. A couple of things to consider: a) a study of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients found that participants lived an average of 1.8 miles from the nearest source of fresh produce but still traveled an average of 4.9 miles (most likely to a superstore) to buy their groceries; and b) sixty-eight percent of Americans are fat but—at the most—8 percent of us lack easy access to healthy food choices. Interpreting these points, Michele Ver Ploeg sums up their implications nicely: “Even though most Americans have fabulous access to healthy foods, on average, they eat only about half the recommended daily levels of fruits and vegetables.”
 The first sentence struck me: there seems to be a strong correlation between class/money and obesity/thinness.  Given that the U.S. tends to segregate by money, perhaps the pattern is the new suburbs are designed and built around the super supermarkets. So the rich are better able to maintain their waistlines and the poor less able to.

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