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A Case for More Grocers

Supermarket availablity influences fruit and vegetable consumption

SATURDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDayNews) The availability of supermarkets in a neighborhood appears to influence the amount of fruits and vegetables that people eat.

New research, published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that black Americans ate 32 per cent more fruits and vegetables and white Americans ate 11 percent more fruits and vegetables for each additional supermarket in the neighborhoods where they lived, says the study.

The researchers, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health, say they don't know why the availability of supermarkets in a neighborhood had more influence on fruit and vegetable consumption by black people. They suspect it may be linked to a lack of private transportation in neighborhoods that are predominantly black.

The study examined data on 208 U.S. neighborhoods in Washington County, Md., Forsyth County, N.C., Jackson, Miss., and several Minneapolis suburbs. Researchers collected information on the types and amounts of food eaten by 10,623 people who filled out questionnaires.

Information was also collected about the availability of supermarkets, grocery stores, and fast-food and full-service restaurants in their neighborhoods.

The study found that white neighborhoods had five times more supermarkets than black neighborhoods. Only 8 per cent of the 2,392 black study participants lived in a neighborhood with at least one supermarket, compared to 31 per cent of the white study participants.

More Information

Experts recommend you eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. For more about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, November 2002
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