There is a great push in the country to eat healthy and exercise, but to find healthy, organic food might be more of a challenge depending on where you live. Those hardest hit, according to research published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, are minorities living in urban areas. According to study participants, even though corner stores are abundant in an urban setting, most residents have to bypass the closest stores to find healthy options.
“People rarely said that they did their primary food shopping there (near the home). They traveled beyond the closest store,” said Carolyn Cannuscio, Sc.D., assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and lead author on the study, in a press release.
Perlman and her team surveyed residents from a 30-block area of West and Southwest Philadelphia, visiting some 373 neighborhood stores and assessing them for the quality and variety of healthy food choices, such as low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stores with the highest quality food options scored highest on the researcher’s list. Of the stores evaluated, approximately 80 percent were corners stores, and the vast majority of those scored low on the evaluation list.
In addition to store data, researchers asked 500 people in the area about their food shopping habits. Ninety percent of them said corner or convenience stores are the closest place to purchase food, but only a third of those individuals actually purchased food routinely in such establishments. The majority of individuals traveled beyond their neighborhoods to supermarkets where healthier options existed.
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