Navigation Links
UC research takes a new approach to identifying 'food deserts'

University of Cincinnati-led research takes a new direction in examining the availability of healthy foods for urban populations by examining the commuting patterns of its residents.

This new approach to identifying so-called food deserts, now published online, will appear in the May journal of Health and Place.

Neighborhoods without access to stores that provide healthy food options such as fresh fruits and vegetables are often labeled as food deserts. However, current methods for determining which neighborhoods have access to nutritious foods focus only on where residents' homes are located, and not where people move through the course of the day.

In an article led by Michael Widener, a UC assistant professor of geography, researchers calculated a new way to pinpoint food deserts by factoring the commuting patterns of residents.

Focusing their examination on Cincinnati and using transportation data from The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), they found that residents in certain transportation analysis zones had better access to supermarkets, thanks to their commutes, compared with just factoring in locations of homes.

In other words, some people who reside in food deserts could still pick up healthy foods like fruits and vegetables on their way home from work, as their access to supermarkets increases because of their other daily travel plans.

The paper also points to an American Community Survey which found that 71 percent of workers 16 and older in Cincinnati are lone commuters to work. However, the current study did not identify whether commuters who resided in food deserts were actually purchasing the healthier foods carried by supermarkets.

Food deserts are often associated with low-income neighborhoods, which have been linked to a range of health problems, including increased risk of diabetes and stroke. However, the authors report that previous research has not produced a consistent link between access to healthy food and healthier residents.

The authors suggest that by using this new method of locating food deserts, new intervention strategies could be developed to encourage post-work trips for healthier food options.

"Given the daily movements of an urban population, this novel measure can provide new information to public and transportation policy makers seeking to understand the role spatial access to healthy food plays in population health," states the article.

The OKI data that was studied on the Cincinnati-proper region was from 2005, the most recent year available. Researchers used 2012 data to examine locations of national and regional grocery stores and supermarkets in comparison to Cincinnati neighborhoods. The study covered 359 transportation analysis zones in Cincinnati and approximately 158,000 automobile commuters.

Although the researchers focused on automobile commuters for this study, future research is under way in factoring populations taking public transportation.

Contact: Dawn Fuller
University of Cincinnati

Related biology news :

1. New Research Conducted by University Cancer Centers Links BP Refinery Incident to Increase Occurrence of Cancer in Texas City
2. UTSW researchers identify new enzyme that acts as innate immunity sensor
3. Research finds promising approaches to prevent Latino childhood obesity
4. Leading RSV researcher publishes work at Le Bonheur Childrens
5. U-M environmental scientist Joel Blum wins 2013 Patterson Award for research on mercury
6. NIH funds research to identify Parkinsons biomarkers
7. Research shows how Mallard dye fills need for speed
8. Researchers make racehorses fertile
9. Canadas aquatic ecosystems research gets boost from NSERC
10. FASEB joins President Obama in urging Congress to sustain investments in research and innovation
11. World first for fly research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/4/2015)... , November 4, 2015 ... market report published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions ... and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global home security solutions ... bn by 2022. The market is estimated to expand ... from 2015 to 2022. Rising security needs among customers ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it has ... as one of only three finalists for a ... and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... technology innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 Daon, ... today that it has released a new version of ... customers in North America have ... IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF certified ... are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These customers ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... that its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong ... Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to ... completion following review of the final interim efficacy ... 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. ... Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished ... , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo ... ICOTF), today reported financial results for the quarter ... are expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under ... the United States ," said Andrew ... "These advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value ...
Breaking Biology Technology: