Junk Food Outlets Crowd Inner-City Schools
Sweet, fatty foods are within easy reach of Harlem youngsters, study finds
SATURDAY, May 14, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Numerous outlets selling sugary or greasy foods are just a minute's walk away from most elementary schools in East Harlem, New York City, say the authors of a Mount Sinai School of Medicine study.
They believe the neighborhood may be typical of many inner-city communities throughout America, with children facing increasing risks for obesity and related health problems.
The Mount Sinai team conducted a walking survey of the neighborhood and found that stores selling unhealthy foods near the schools outnumbered stores selling healthy foods by nearly six to one. Stores selling unhealthy foods were located within about 400 feet of 99 percent of the elementary schools in East Harlem.
The study found that 57 percent of the schools have three or more nearby sources of unhealthy foods, such as ice cream shops and fast-food outlets.
The findings were scheduled to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington, D.C.
"East Harlem elementary schools have many unhealthy food stores in close proximity. In combating the rising epidemic of childhood overweight, there is a need to address community level changes in food availability of the urban environment," research team leader Dr. Maida Galvez, associate professor of community and preventive medicine and of pediatrics, said in a prepared statement.
"Mount Sinai School of Medicine, through initiatives like the Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem project, is trying to work with the community to help address these problems," Galvez said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about healthy foods for children.