Refuting the Recent Food Access and Obesity Findings

Allison Karpyn, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation for the Food Trust, shares her doubts about the overall implications of recent studies questioning the concept of Food Deserts and their connection to obesity.
April 20, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Karpyn raises methodological questions embedded in the fine print in recent studies produced by the Public Policy Institute of California and the RAND Corporation, which have been making news across the nation for questioning the very concept of food deserts in poor neighborhoods, and the connection between fresh food access and obesity.

Says Karpyn:

"These studies certainly contribute to our understanding of how to conduct research, but in recent years, some 200 studies have shown, broadly speaking, that accessing healthy foods is a challenge for many Americans. The majority demonstrate a correlation between this access issue, and healthier eating. These studies buck the trend and because they are counter to the prevailing research, they are newsworthy. I would hope, however, that readers do not arrive at the conclusion that there is indeed no correlation between healthier eating and food access. There is too much evidence in the other direction."

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Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in Next American City
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