Study: Grocery Stores Don't Curb Obesity in Poor Locales

Research contradicts the "food desert" theory that limited access to healthy food drives obesity rates in low-income areas.

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Debunking widespread beliefs that access to fresh fruit and vegetables will help fight obesity in low-income neighborhoods, a new study shows that poverty and proximity to restaurants are more likely driving food choices, according to results of a recent study cited by the Los Angeles Times.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, says that improved access to supermarkets, with their ruby red fruit and lush green vegetables, doesn't lure customers into making healthier food choices. Faced with limited funds and easy access to cheap, calorie-laden meals, many opt to eat fast food anyway.

"This raises the serious issue of how we get people to eat healthy," said the lead author of the study, Barry Popkin, director of the Nutrition Transition Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to the Times.

The findings come after "tracking more than 5,000 African American and Caucasian men and women in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland between 1985 and 2001. The researchers assessed participants' diets over the years and tracked how far they lived from supermarkets and fast-food restaurants," the Times said.

While grocery stores are often pricier than fast-food chains, there is something to be said for a good home-cooked meal! 

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

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