EspanaSalude.Org

Economic access becomes primary research focus in public health nutrition

October 24, 2015

Economic access has also become a primary research focus in public health nutrition, including the work by Drewnowski and team. Supermarket chains have specific demographics--consumers differ by age, education, income, health, and even obesity rates. "The county-wide obesity rate in 2007 was 19.8 percent, but our research found that the obesity rate was only four percent among Whole Foods and PCC shoppers," said Drewnowski. "Consumers who shop at most area supermarket chains have obesity rates at 25 percent and higher. Clearly, not all supermarkets are the same and economic access is determined by price."

UW researchers recently discussed the Seattle Obesity Study results at "Shopping for Health" conference, which brought together public health agencies, academicians, supermarket representatives and policymakers from Seattle, King County and Washington state. Additional findings include:

New ways to identify underserved areas ("food deserts") in Washington state that are most in need of resources New ways to identify healthy, affordable and sustainable foods The Seattle Atlas, or SEATTLAS, of all food sources, including supermarkets, grocery stores, and fast food restaurants Food purchases and expenditures, diet quality and weight/ obesity Insights from similar studies conducted in New York City.

"We plan to explore how local data can best be used in new initiatives to improve access to healthy, affordable foods in Seattle, King County and throughout Washington state," said Drewnowski. "As part of the dialogue, it is extremely important that the food industry be part of the solution and we welcomed their presence at this recent gathering," he said. "We hope to provide the local answer to the question that the federal government is trying to address. And we want to make sure our public health initiatives and programs are backed by research and science."

Source: University of Washington