Do You Live in A ‘Food Swamp’?

FastFoodInteresting article on The Week. It says that it’s really not the lack of access to healthy food (what the USDA terms a “food desert”) but living close to fast-food joints and convenience stores (i.e. a “food swamp”) is what is more influential in eating habits. People like convenience — sure, doesn’t sound like rocket science — but more telling is that fast-food restaurants outnumber supermarkets by 5 to 1 in the U.S. Americans really do like convenience, a hell of a lot. Over cost as well, it seems, since you will get a lot more bang for your buck in a supermarket. Reports The Week:

So what’s the real problem? Many people simply like fast food better. A recent University of North Carolina (UNC) study of the eating habits of 5,000 people over 15 years found that living near a supermarket had little impact on whether people had healthy diets. But living close to fast-food outlets did. The real problem, the study found, is the existence of “food swamps,” filled with convenience stores selling calorie-loaded packaged foods, gallon cups of soda, and other sugar-loaded beverages, and fast-food chains peddling burgers, fries, and fried chicken on almost every street corner. That’s no exaggeration: There are now five fast-food restaurants for every supermarket in the U.S.

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  • Jin The Ninja

    chemical laden and factory farmed chalk full of artificial goodness. i’ll pass thanks.

    • VitaminP

      Exactly.  How many of these supermarkets had decent (i.e. flavorful and nutrient-rich) produce?  Almost none.  Give people a real alternative to junk food and try again.

      • ralph

        My point is that convenience is very important, may even be the most important factor, in determining American eating habits.

        For the sake of argument let’s assume a supermarket is the lesser of two evils versus fast food when it comes to this study. (If you want to say they are the same thing, that’s a different discussion, and good luck with getting the government to provide a map of organic farms across the country.)

        So to expand the discussion, it’s worth looking at exactly what food sources the government is considering in the “food drought” map they created.

      • Jin The Ninja

        Did i EVER advocate for people not buying produce?
        I think FRESH produce and community gardens should be VITAL aspects of low income communities.
        I don’t think ANYONE should have to eat that sh*t they pass off as “food”. I wouldn’t touch it at 10 paces with a shuriken.

        FAIL.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Better start growing it yourself. 

  • Anonymous

    chemical laden and factory farmed chalk full of artificial goodness. i’ll pass thanks.

  • B0ZAK

    The government needs to put a fast-food tax on this junk. Just like cigarettes, which use in Ontario has gone down since the rise is prices. Diseases connected to regular fast-food consumption are sky-rocketing in North America. Something needs to be done to save future generations.

    • Jin The Ninja

      Mcguinty has shown himself to be nothing if not regressive.

      Sales Taxes are PROVEN to be far more regressive and detrimental on low income people.
      Unless you from here, please refrain from using examples from this part of the world, because you obviously don’t know how they function in real life.

    • JoiquimCouteau

      So you propose to counteract the enormous subsidies for grains, dairy, and meat with a tax on the consumer? Might as well have them pay directly to the farmers.

  • B0ZAK

    The government needs to put a fast-food tax on this junk. Just like cigarettes, which use in Ontario has gone down since the rise is prices. Diseases connected to regular fast-food consumption are sky-rocketing in North America. Something needs to be done to save future generations.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Well it’s loaded with the main craving inducing substances, salt, sugar, and fat. Things relatively rare in the environment that enhanced cravings were evolved to value. All are valuable elements of nutrition containing important nutrients or high calorie counts. But thanks to industrialism we can get far more than we need fairly easily, this in combination with the largely sedentary lifestyle of modern Americans leads to weight gain and obesity. Of course the convenience of acquisition makes it that much more alluring.

  • Wanooski

    Well it’s loaded with the main craving inducing substances, salt, sugar, and fat. Things relatively rare in the environment that enhanced cravings were evolved to value. All are valuable elements of nutrition containing important nutrients or high calorie counts. But thanks to industrialism we can get far more than we need fairly easily, this in combination with the largely sedentary lifestyle of modern Americans leads to weight gain and obesity. Of course the convenience of acquisition makes it that much more alluring.

  • VitaminP

    Exactly.  How many of these supermarkets had decent (i.e. flavorful and nutrient-rich) produce?  Almost none.  Give people a real alternative to junk food and try again.

  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    My point is that convenience is very important, may even be the most important factor, in determining American eating habits.

    For the sake of argument let’s assume a supermarket is the lesser of two evils versus fast food when it comes to this study. (If you want to say they are the same thing, that’s a different discussion, and good luck with getting the government to provide a map of organic farms across the country.)

    So to expand the discussion, it’s worth looking at exactly what food sources the government is considering in the “food drought” map they created.

  • BuzzCoastin

    I’d love to write a long comment but I gotta run down to Mickey D’s a grab a Big Mac with cheese.

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    I’d love to write a long comment but I gotta run down to Mickey D’s a grab a Big Mac with cheese.

  • Anonymous

    Did i EVER advocate for people not buying produce?
    I think FRESH produce and community gardens should be VITAL aspects of low income communities.
    I don’t think ANYONE should have to eat that sh*t they pass off as “food”. I wouldn’t touch it at 10 paces with a shuriken.

    FAIL.

  • Anonymous

    Mcguinty has shown himself to be nothing if not regressive.

    Sales Taxes are PROVEN to be far more regressive and detrimental on low income people.
    Unless you from here, please refrain from using examples from this part of the world, because you obviously don’t know how they function in real life.

  • Wanooski

    Better start growing it yourself. 

  • Anonymous

    So you propose to counteract the enormous subsidies for grains, dairy, and meat with a tax on the consumer? Might as well have them pay directly to the farmers.

  • justagirl

    right now i am drowning in a swamp of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  who is going to help me eat my way out of this?   …attention.  where are you?

  • justagirl

    right now i am drowning in a swamp of homemade chocolate chip cookies.  who is going to help me eat my way out of this?   …attention.  where are you?

    • swabby429

      I’m in Nebraska.  Chocolate chip cookies, eh?  Bring ‘em on!

      • justagirl

        i would chris!!  but, if i send them to some random address in nebraska they might end up in the hands of an unworthy wisconsin dude!  and he doesn’t DESERVE THEM!!  sigh.

    • smart phone

      I would also like cookies. 

      • justagirl

        LOL!  aw!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jay-Johnson/597807491 Jay Johnson

    I’m in Nebraska.  Chocolate chip cookies, eh?  Bring ‘em on!

  • Anon

    with how commercial food makes us hungry and craving for more after a full me they’ve turned us into zombies always sticking our hands out wanting more food as we moan-like-cry-out ‘hunger’

  • Anon

    with how commercial food makes us hungry and craving for more after a full me they’ve turned us into zombies always sticking our hands out wanting more food as we moan-like-cry-out ‘hunger’

  • Hadrian999

    the good thing about living in the midwest is easy access to most non tropical produce, if you have the storage space and funds you can save a bunch of money buying meat from the producer and lots of small time farmers to get produce from

  • Hadrian999

    the good thing about living in the midwest is easy access to most non tropical produce, if you have the storage space and funds you can save a bunch of money buying meat from the producer and lots of small time farmers to get produce from

  • Hadrian999

    the good thing about living in the midwest is easy access to most non tropical produce, if you have the storage space and funds you can save a bunch of money buying meat from the producer and lots of small time farmers to get produce from

  • Anonymous

    I gotta love the people parroting that food stamps are being used to buy fast food. Who are these dipshits? You can’t even buy pop (soda) with food stamps where I live.

    In regards to the comments in the main article.

  • Redacted

    I gotta love the people parroting that food stamps are being used to buy fast food. Who are these dipshits? You can’t even buy pop (soda) with food stamps where I live.

    In regards to the comments in the main article.

    • Hadrian999

      where I live it has to be uncooked food, people do game the system and sell foodstamps at less than their cash value but things like that will always happen

      • Jin The Ninja

        There was a story on alternet, about women who need to sell foodstamps for cash at bodegas in order to afford basics like shampoo, tampons and asprin. Illegal? Yes, Immoral? NO way.

        • Hadrian999

          i know someone who does that as the buyer because a single mom he knows doesn’t need all the money for food but is in the same boat

  • santa

    How about starting a convenient fast food chain that is healthier and delicious.  Grilled veggie sandwiches, lean meats, whole grain sides and stuff like that.  As long as it is delicious people would eat there. 

  • santa

    How about starting a convenient fast food chain that is healthier and delicious.  Grilled veggie sandwiches, lean meats, whole grain sides and stuff like that.  As long as it is delicious people would eat there. 

    • Jin The Ninja

      “convenient fast food chain that is healthier and delicious”

      contradictory and misses the point about food security.

  • justagirl

    i would chris!!  but, if i send them to some random address in nebraska they might end up in the hands of an unworthy wisconsin dude!  and he doesn’t DESERVE THEM!!  sigh.

  • Hadrian999

    where I live it has to be uncooked food, people do game the system and sell foodstamps at less than their cash value but things like that will always happen

  • Anonymous

    There was a story on alternet, about women who need to sell foodstamps for cash at bodegas in order to afford basics like shampoo, tampons and asprin. Illegal? Yes, Immoral? NO way.

  • Hadrian999

    i know someone who does that as the buyer because a single mom he knows doesn’t need all the money for food but is in the same boat

  • smart phone

    I would also like cookies. 

  • respect cult

    the problem is fast food is not made with healthy techniques. Could be different real easy. People just need to eat amounts according to their life style. If you are not active dont eat as much fat, snack on fat free stuff more protein. If you are and need all the energy you can get. gang on those carbs and everything else. If fast food was more expensive people would not eat as much of it. Well made burgers are not fast food tho, they are awesomeness..

  • respect cult

    the problem is fast food is not made with healthy techniques. Could be different real easy. People just need to eat amounts according to their life style. If you are not active dont eat as much fat, snack on fat free stuff more protein. If you are and need all the energy you can get. gang on those carbs and everything else. If fast food was more expensive people would not eat as much of it. Well made burgers are not fast food tho, they are awesomeness..

    • respect cult

      regulate how cheap fast food can be and downsize those evil companies and send all the fast food workers to the army and conquer the world.

  • respect cult

    regulate how cheap fast food can be and downsize those evil companies and send all the fast food workers to the army and conquer the world.

  • Anonymous

    “convenient fast food chain that is healthier and delicious”

    contradictory and misses the point about food security.

  • justagirl

    LOL!  aw!

  • $4251815

    They also sell salads. Buy one and shut the fuck up.

  • ZombieSlapper

    They also sell salads. Buy one and shut the fuck up.