Healthy Food Access: Health Impact

Access to healthy food is a critical component of a healthy, thriving community. Improving healthy food access has been shown to be an effective measure in improving healthy eating habits and lowering the risk for diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

Lower Risk for Diet-related Diseases

  • Neighborhood access to healthy food and safe places for physical activity matters for children’s weight. Children living in neighborhoods with healthy food and safe play spaces are 56 percent less likely to be obese than children in neighborhoods without these features.
  • Adults living in neighborhoods with supermarkets and grocery stores have lower obesity rates (21 percent) as compared to those living in neighborhoods with no supermarkets (32 to 40 percent). In Los Angeles, a study found a correlation between the distance traveled to a grocery store and body mass index (BMI)—longer distances are associated with higher BMI.

 Healthier Eating

  • Adults with no supermarkets within a mile of their homes are 25 to 46 percent less likely to have a healthy diet than those with the most supermarkets near their homes.
  • Residents are more likely to meet dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption when they live in a census tract with a supermarket. For African Americans, produce consumption increases by 32 percent when they have these amenities.