Healthy Meals Are Tough to Find in Restaurants Near Public Housing Projects

choose-my-plateA new study led by Rebecca E. Lee, a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University, found that restaurants near public housing projects tend to have fewer healthier menu choices than restaurants in more upscale neighborhoods. Researchers examined menu choices at restaurants near public housing projects in Kansas and Missouri. They found that approximately 75 percent of the menu choices were highly caloric and high in fat and did not contain enough whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Thus, residents of public housing, where there generally are large percentages of African Americans and other minorities, tend to live near restaurants where there are few healthy choices on the menus. This may contribute to public health concerns such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes that are common in the African American community.

Katie Heinrich, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Kansas State University and one of the authors of the study, stated, “If we don’t set up environments where the majority of choices can potentially be healthy, it becomes much more likely that people are going to make unhealthy choices.”

The article, “Obesogenic and Youth Oriented Restaurant Marketing in Public Housing Neighborhoods,” was published in the American Journal of Health Behavior. It may be accessed here.


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  1. L.W.White says:

    Here we have a vicious cycle. these restaurants serve meals that sell. Until patrons demand better food, the menus will remain the same.

    One way of breaking this cycles is to feed our children nutricious meals in school and teach their parents what good eating really is through community programs presented at these schools, which should be community centers.

    Some would say that this is a form of socialism. Well, maybe. For the record (Who’s recording?), I am a slightly right -of-center Caucasoid who proudly attended Morgan State University.

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