Community
5:45 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Study Finds Less Access To Supermarkets In Latin And Low-Income Neighborhoods

According to an aggregated study by the UT Health Science Center, people have a better chance of finding a fast food establishment than a supermarket in many Latin neighborhoods across the country.

Dr. Amelie Rivera is the director for health promotion research at the UT Health Science Center and said Latin and low income neighborhoods have about one third the number of supermarkets or grocery stores than others, but the more common bodegas, which are like a small market, are usually lacking in healthier options.

"The smaller convenience stores tended to offer limited or more expensive selections of food and fewer fresh food options were available," said Rivera. "One study found that Latino students were more likely to attend schools that had fast food restaurants,  convenience stores, and liquor stores that were closer to the school than in other non-Hispanic communities."

This was not a stand-alone study by the UT Health Science Center, but was a compressed collection of studies in other cities.

Ramirez said that cities who offer tax credits and zoning incentives are more likely to attract large grocery stores to the underserved neighborhoods.

The research, aggregated into a report called Salud America, suggests that those with greater access to supermarkets are less likely to be obese and have a lower body mass index.