Forget Food Deserts; Now Liberals Fret About Food Swamps

Forget Food Deserts; Now Liberals Fret About Food Swamps

The term food desert refers to the alleged absence of stores that sell fresh produce and other dietetically correct foods in ghettoes where no one wants to eat that stuff. Pointy-headed liberal elitists are starting to figure out that food deserts are not the cause of rampant obesity in “diverse” (i.e., nonwhite) communities. Now they blame food swamps:

In addition to being low on grocery stores, food swamps are also crammed with unhealthy food options like corner stores and fast-food places.

For a study published in November in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers from the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity compared the obesity rate of U.S. counties to their ratio of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to grocery stores and supermarkets—their level of food-swampiness, in other words.

Unsurprisingly, a correlation was found between food swamps and obesity.

Similarly, a 2011 longitudinal study found that nearby supermarkets didn’t improve people’s diets much overall. But people—low-income men in particular—did eat more fast food when there was more fast food nearby.

The study finding that people who live where it has been found to be profitable to place fast food restaurants eat more fast food than people who don’t was funded by a long list of NIH grants. That is, it was funded on a coercive basis by you.

Fast-food restaurants are more prevalent in areas where large numbers of people of color live. African Americans and Latinos also have higher obesity rates than whites, and this research suggests the two trends might be related.

Whites tend to be more responsible, so they eat more responsibly. But drawing that conclusion would be racist. It would be politically safer to conclude that fast food chains deliberately place their restaurants in Neighborhoods of Color not because there is more demand there, but because corporations are controlled by nefarious racists who conspire to inflict gastronomic oppression.

Thankfully, Big Government can come to the rescue with still more regulations. But wait… astonishingly, that doesn’t work:

Los Angeles banned new fast-food restaurants in a low-income part of the city in 2008, but the measure was considered a failure after obesity rates there continued to rise.

The proposed solution is that Big Government should use zoning restrictions to dictate what people eat, but “should do so carefully.”

Too bad the NIH isn’t likely to offer lavish grants to discover the correlation between food stamp usage and obesity. That would present an obvious solution.

On a tip from Jester. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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