Photo: Anthony Albright (flickr)
If You Build It…
Food deserts affect nearly 23 million Americans, but a new study has found that building a supermarket where there is limited fresh food doesn’t limit weight gain.
A food desert is a rural or urban area where at least 20 percent of the residents live in poverty and 33 percent of the people live without a supermarket or large grocery store nearby. By pinpointing areas that have low access to healthy foods the USDA hopes to “expand the availability of nutritious food.”
To put this idea to the test, the archives of internal medicine created a study that tracked over 5,000 people in Birmingham, AL, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland, CA over the span of 15 years.
Income was the main factor that people took into consideration when deciding what to eat, not proximity to a grocery store.
…They Still Probably Won’t Come
In a war between grocery stores and fast food chains, the clear winner was fast food chains.
The researchers found that in low-income areas, how close fast food chains are has a direct correlation with how often people eat it. However, how close a grocery store is doesn’t have a correlation with how often people eat healthy food.
The research also begged the question: Are grocery stores really all that healthy? Aisles and aisles of grocery stores still contain food that is just as high in calories, sodium, and fat as fast food.