For more than two decades, researchers have been gathering evidence to determine whether there are connections between access to healthy food and decreased obesity rates and other diet-related diseases. In general, research shows that when communities have access to affordable, healthy foods, residents purchase and consume healthier foods over time. But improving access to healthy foods, especially in lower-income communities and communities of color in both rural and urban settings goes beyond improving diet and health outcomes: Bringing new food outlets into underserved areas also can provide an economic stimulus in communities that may need it most.
This research review and issue brief by Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children examines the relevant evidence regarding improving access to healthy foods in Latino communities.
This Health Policy Snapshot shows that many Americans lack regular access to healthy, affordable foods. Supermarkets provide the most reliable access to nutritious and affordable produce, and their presence is an important indicator of a community's physical health and economic vitality.