Posts Tagged ‘supermarkets’

Food Deserts Questioned…Again

August 25th, 2012

Is there a robust relationship between neighborhood food environments and childhood obesity? That is the question Roland Sturm and colleagues Victoria Shier and Ruopeng An set out to answer in a new paper in the journal, Public Health. Using standard definitions and a large database of 5th and 8th graders, they found “no consistent evidence across (counts of a particular type of food outlets per population, food environment indices and indicators for the presence of specific combinations of types of food stores) and outcomes to support the hypothesis that improved access to large supermarkets results in lower youth BMI, or greater exposure to fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and small food stores increases BMI.” See PubMed: Is There a Robust Relationship between Neighborhood food environment

Don’t tell Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In May, at the Weight of the Nation Conference, she declared that food deserts were a cause of obesity stating, “Obesity can be caused by any combination of factors. For some, it is an addiction like smoking. For others, it’s a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables near their home.” HHS_Secretary Speeches_Weight of the Nation

This may be just a case of sloppy thinking or poor staff work. More likely, it was an effort to buttress First Lady’s Michelle Obama’s major $400 million initiative to bring supermarkets to underserved areas. Let’sMove: Food desert programs. Sturm’s earlier paper had already questioned this policy. PubMed: School and residential food environment California


Is It “Deserts” or “Desserts”?

March 16th, 2012

In a new study, RAND Corporation researcher Roland Sturm, examined the food environments of 13,000 California adolescents, the proximity to fast food restaurants and supermarkets and consumption of fast food, fresh fruits and other foods. The finding: no relationship. Seems that with 97% of Californians having access to cars, what is available locally doesn’t make much difference. Also (and this should be obvious) supermarkets do not only sell healthy foods. They also sell sodas, chips, candy, pastries, etc. This is another example, I am afraid, of policy making running ahead of weak evidence. School and residential neighborhood food envir… [Am J Prev Med. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI