Fewer Healthy Foods Available in Low-Income Neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Study Finds
Grocery stores in lower-income sections of Los Angeles are less likely than those in more affluent west Los Angeles neighborhoods to stock fresh fruits and vegetables, non-fat milk and low-fat snacks, according to a study by the University of Southern California and the University of California-Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reports (Conis, Los Angeles Times, 8/4). The primary investigator in the study was Community Health Councils, a not-for-profit, community-based health advocacy organization that serves as the coordinating agency for African Americans Building a Legacy of Health, a CDC REACH 2010 project (Olney, "Which Way, L.A.?" KCRW, 8/6). For the study, which is part of a larger project aimed at reducing diabetes and cardiovascular disease among African Americans, researchers from UCLA surveyed 400 food markets throughout Los Angeles and found that stores in low-income neighborhoods carried around half the variety of fruits and vegetables as stores in west Los Angeles. In addition, fruits and vegetables in stores in low-income areas tended to be damaged or dirty, the study found (Los Angeles Times, 8/4). David Sloane, associate professor of policy, planning and development at USC, said that the study was designed to determine whether local stores provided a series of basic, healthy items such as whole-grain pasta, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese and low-fat snacks. Stores in neighborhoods with more African-American and low-income residents were less likely to have the items readily available, according to Sloane. "We know that African Americans have considerably more diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And if they can't get the items they need to live a healthier lifestyle, then it makes it more difficult for them to listen to public health experts," Sloane said. The study will be published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, KCRW reports ("Which Way, L.A.?" KCRW, 8/6). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.