By Melissa Healy
The logic seems simple enough: The consumption of healthy foods is low and obesity is high in neighborhoods where supermarkets are notably absent; so, opening supermarkets in those neighborhoods should boost consumption of healthier foods and drive down obesity. Right?
Not so fast, says the first American study gauging the success of a popular initiative aimed at combating obesity: improving access to fresh produce and healthy food in the nation’s “food deserts.”
Six months after the grand opening of a new supermarket in Philadelphia, the study found, residents of the surrounding low-income neighborhood were not eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, nor were they less likely to be obese than were low-income Philadelphians across town whose neighborhood continued to be a food desert. Continue reading