What Is a Food Swamp? – LX

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If you drive down Figueroa Street in Los Angeles, you’ll discover a automotive dealership, a music college, a Taco Bell, a McDonald’s, a gasoline station, a Jack within the Box, and a Popeyes.

That’s what Dr. Deborah Cohen, a analysis scientist at Kaiser Permanente who lives in Los Angeles, would name a “food swamp.”

“We live in environments where getting nutrient poor foods is very, very convenient and easy and really pushed on us,” Cohen stated.

What Is a Food Swamp?

A meals swamp is an space with an “over-allocation” of unhealthy meals, according to the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. A meals swamp can present itself as a neighborhood with a number of gasoline stations, liquor shops, nook shops, and quick meals eating places however little to no grocery shops the place folks can entry inexpensive, nutritious meals.

A survey of sixth and seventh-grade ladies in Baltimore discovered that the members who lived in a meals swamp consumed extra snacks and desserts than these not residing in meals swamps.

“There’s so much junk food,” Cohen stated, referring to the United States. “Sodas, chips, cakes, cookies, candy. That’s a food swamp, where you have an overabundance of low nutrient unhealthy foods.”

What Is a Food Desert?

By distinction, a meals desert is an space with few or no inexpensive wholesome meals choices, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Whereas meals swamps can have grocery shops stuffed with wholesome meals choices, meals deserts often don’t even have that.

In a 2017 report, the USDA estimated about 19 million Americans lived in a meals desert. In these areas, at least 20 percent of people live at or beneath the poverty charge and one in three residents dwell a couple of mile from the closest grocery retailer in city areas.

A 2014 study by Johns Hopkins discovered meals deserts disproportionately have an effect on Black communities. In city communities with majority-Black populations, there have been fewer supermarkets on common. Predominantly white communities in city areas had probably the most.

Why Are Food Swamps and Food Deserts Dangerous?

A scarcity of entry to wholesome, inexpensive meals can have detrimental penalties. 

Food deserts have been linked to larger charges of weight problems. Being chubby or overweight has lengthy been linked to larger danger for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But Dr. Cohen, says meals deserts aren’t the most important downside.

“The problem is food swamps,” stated Cohen. “When it comes to food deserts, I feel like that’s not the appropriate way to define the problem because only five percent of the American population lives in what’s been called a food desert, and 73 percent now are overweight or obese,” says Cohen.

A study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity discovered that meals swamps are higher predictors of weight problems charges than meals deserts. For instance, an space’s focus of unhealthy meals choices is a greater predictor of weight problems charges than one other space’s lack of grocery shops. 

What Can We Do to Minimize Food Deserts and Swamps?

There’s not a lot the common individual can do to enhance their very own entry to meals. Food deserts and swamps are systemic points that require systemic options.

Things like bettering public transportation from meals swamps to grocery shops and incentivizing grocery shops to open areas in meals deserts can assist, in accordance with consultants.

Some communities, like East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, tried encouraging nook and liquor shops so as to add more healthy meals, however that didn’t impact what folks selected to purchase.

Cohen has different concepts. The National Institutes of Health not too long ago awarded her a grant to develop what are referred to as “food prescriptions.”

“We put the groceries together and deliver them to households where people are interested in eating healthy and controlling their weight,” Cohen stated. “So we’re testing that out now, but if it does turn out to work, it could be a solution [where] we could have a service that you just sign up and you’ll get healthy, affordable food.”

Outside of that, Cohen believes training alone may go a great distance, together with training about particular topic: parts.

“The main problem is people are being served too much,” Cohen stated.

When it involves parts, “we don’t have any standards in this country,” Cohen stated. “One of the projects I’m working on is to develop standardized portions. So when people go to a restaurant, they can order whatever they want, but then be served the appropriate amount.”

Cohen desires folks to recollect one factor.

“I just want them to feel like it is not their fault entirely,” Cohen stated. “They are being victimized by the meals setting and the dearth of state. And so folks may be helped by altering the circumstances wherein we dwell. This is basically the general public well being mission, to create circumstances wherein folks may be wholesome.

This story is a part of Connect the Dots, our sequence that exhibits how completely different facets of our lives are related to one another. Watch the video above to see what ties meals deserts, live shows and lightbulbs collectively.


This web page was created programmatically, to learn the article in its authentic location you’ll be able to go to the hyperlink bellow:
https://www.lx.com/social-justice/lx-natl-food-swamp-vs-food-desert-whats-the-difference/54482/
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