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As unhealthy food outlets multiply, teens eat more junk
Date:7/27/2011

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And teens in more unhealthy neighborhoods were 17 percent more likely to drink soda every day and 18 percent more likely to eat fast food at least twice a week than their peers in healthier neighborhoods.

"It is a travesty that our kids have better access to liquor stores and other unhealthy food outlets than a grocery store," said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of the California Endowment, which funded the study. "We have put our children and youth in harm's way, and they are paying the price for our carelessness. If nothing is done, this will be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents."

Few counties immune

The research showed that few counties, whether rural or urban, were immune from the unhealthy effects of junk-food outlet density. In San Benito, Sutter, Merced and Fresno counties, more than 70 percent of teens consume at least one soda per day. In Tulare, Riverside, Ventura and Kern counties, more than 55 percent of teens eat fast food at least twice a week. In total, 13 counties across California had Home and School Retail Food Environment Index scores of more than 8 points an indication of a relatively unhealthy food environment.

The authors recommended a number of policy options to improve the food environments where teens live and go to school, including better zoning, especially around schools, and farm-to-school programs that bring fresh produce into school cafeterias. They also noted that better incentives were needed to bring healthy food outlets, such as farmers markets and grocery stores, into underserved neighborhoods.

"The research shows that how we plan and zone our communities has a real impact on our health and quality of life," Babey said. "Policymakers need to take this into account when deciding whether to zone a new grocery store or a fast food restaurant. Hopefully, they will make the healthy choice."


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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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