Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes

Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes

The higher the ratio of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to grocery stores and produce vendors in a neighborhood, the higher the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, a joint report from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, PolicyLink, and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds. Designed for Disease: The Link Between Local Food Environments and Obesity and Diabetes (10 pages, PDF) concludes that in both lower- and higher-income communities, unhealthy food environments are linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. Funded by the California Endowment, the report notes that lower-income areas and communities of color tend to have worse food environments — a combination that typically results in the highest prevalence of obesity and diabetes. The report's authors recommend making expanded WIC (women, infants, and children) food packages more accessible, more promotion of retail store development and innovations such as farmers markets and small-scale vendors, zoning to limit fast-food restaurants, and mandated menu labeling.