Hispanic Neighborhoods & Access to Healthy Food

The National Council of La Raza recently published a factsheet titled, The Food Environment and Latino’s Access to Healthy Foods, as part of their 2010 Profiles of Latino Health.

In the factsheet, NCLR summarizes recent research on Hispanic families’ access to healthy foods, finding:

  • Hispanic families are less likely than non-Hispanic White families to live in neighborhoods where healthy food is available and sold at affordable prices.
  • For Latinos living in neighborhoods where affordable, healthy food is scare, families may have difficulty obtaining transportation to obtain such foods.

Why is this important? Mainstream grocery stores are more likely to carry a wide range of food and fresh produce than smaller stores.  NCLR reports that Hispanic neighborhoods are about 1/3 less likely to have a chain supermarket.

For obtaining healthy foods, reliable transportation is important.  Low-income families relying on public transportation may be limited in the quantity and quality of foods they can purchase, especially fresh produce.

The factsheet also summarizes the connection between access to healthy food and health outcomes. Specifically, access to chain supermarkets has been correlated with decreased body mass index.  In one study, children living in areas with lower costs for fruits and vegetables gained less weight than their counterparts living in high cost areas. This correlation was most exaggerated in Hispanic (and Asian) communities.

To download the factsheet, click here.