Eat Healthy - Live Close to the Supermarket

February 17, 2005

Madeline Vann
Phone: 504-988-6017

The closer low-income people live to a supermarket, the more likely they are to choose healthy foods, such as fruit, say Tulane University diet and nutrition researchers in a recently published study.

"Lower income households often lack nutritional variety," says Diego Rose, lead author. "Our study shows that the location of the local supermarket is an important factor. If it's close by, people seem to eat more fruits and vegetables, but if it is over five miles away, consumption of fruit is significantly less. People in the United States don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, so neighborhood environmental factors, like access to a supermarket, or other plentiful source of low-cost fruits and vegetables, may be important for increasing consumption, especially among low-income households."

The study, which appeared in a recent issue of Public Health Nutrition, analyzed food inventory data from 963 people nationally who participated in the 1996-97 National Food Stamp Program Survey. The majority of respondents lived in urban households and one out of four respondents had difficult or no access to a supermarket.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000