Studies Undermine “Food Desert”-Obesity Link

The NYT reports:

t has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates, including Michelle Obama, that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables.

But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.

The two studies used relied on different methodologies but reached the same conclusion: The relative availability of different types of food in a neighborhood has little observable effect on the obesity rate.