The availability of healthy food choices and your quality of diet is associated with where you live, according to two studies conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Researchers examined healthy food availability and diet quality among Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Md., residents and found that availability of healthy foods was associated with quality of diet and 46 percent of lower-income neighborhoods had a low availability of healthy foods. The results are published in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"Place of residence plays a larger role in dietary health than previously estimated," said Manuel Franco, MD, PhD, lead author of the studies and an associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Our findings show that participants who live in neighborhoods with low healthy food availability are at an increased risk of consuming a lower quality diet. We also found that 24 percent of the black participants lived in neighborhoods with a low availability of healthy food compared with 5 percent of white participants."
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between the availability of healthy foods and diet quality among 759 participants of a population-based cardiovascular cohort study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Using a food frequency questionnaire, Franco, along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, summarized diet into two dietary patterns reflecting low and high quality diet. The availability of healthy foods was assessed by examining food stores within MESA participants' neighborhood or census tract, their closest food store and all food stores within one mile of the participants' residence. Availability of healthy food
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Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health