A 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.