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Friday, April 10 • 9:50am - 10:30am
PS39.0 Food Deserts and County-Level Health Outcomes: An Analysis of The 28-County Metropolitan Atlanta Area

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A socioecological perspective argues that social environment can influence health outcome. In fact, previous research on food deserts and individual health outcomes supports that the built environment influences the dietary habits of residents. Our initial research explores prevalence of food deserts, diabetes, and obesity to determine if there is a significant relation between the incidence rates at the county-level. This differs from previous examinations into food deserts and health outcomes. The question that we seek to answer is does the presence of food deserts represent a tacit policy approach to (re)development that jeopardizes the health outcomes of residents outside of food deserts. Using the variables provided by the Partnership for Southern Equity’s Metro-Atlanta Equity Atlas, our findings were that there is a statistical relationship between high levels of low-income food deserts and high incidence of diabetes. There is also a statistical relationship with high prevalence of captive mobility food deserts and obesity. From these results, we believe that low-income served as a proxy variable for food insecurity, which complicates compliance with diabetic dietary restrictions, and that captive mobility reflected a policy approach to public transportation and neighborhood planning. Our subsequent investigation will analyze the relevant county policies. Specifically, for captive mobility, we will include measures of walkability, sidewalk connectivity, and methods of community to work. In assessing the connection between food deserts and health outcomes, it is important to investigate the policies and regulations that led to the creation of food deserts. In this way, we can prevent further desertification of neighborhoods. Moreover, emerging research has shown that there is a link between negative health outcomes and food deserts; therefore, using the presence of food deserts may serve as an indicator of overall community health.

avatar for Jason Plummer

Jason Plummer

Lecturer, California State University, Los Angeles

Friday April 10, 2015 9:50am - 10:30am EDT
Biscayne Ballroom (2nd floor)