Fun new term: Food Swamp

We came across this term in a segment on NPR about the top health concerns of Latinos. It was coined by Alex Ortega, a public health researcher and professor of public health at UCLA, to describe areas where healthy food is hard to find.

Ortega is one of several people involved in an interesting effort in East Los Angeles to learn more about how the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables relates to overall health and diabetes in particular. The project involves multiple facets including lifestyle adjustments and education about nutrition.

The initial results will not be a surprise to those familiar with a key tenet in Eat Drink Vote: that voting with your fork helps to create a healthier food system. The project in East Los Angeles finds that when healthy food choices have a level playing food - meaning that the in-store support for less healthy food options is decreased - shoppers will make choices that contribute to a healthier diet.
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We’re Number 20! We’re Number 20!

If you're reading this from outside the US, please excuse the national reference. This claim refers to how the US ranks in Oxfam's compilation of how easy it is to get a balanced, nutritious diet.

A nice synopsis of the report is found on NPR. Max Lawson, of Oxfam, is quoted on NPR as saying "Food is very, very cheap in the U.S. compared to most countries," he explains. "But the fact is you end up with people malnourished in one of the richest countries because they don't have access to fresh vegetables at a cheap enough price to make a balanced diet."

Readers of Eat Drink Vote will not be surprised by this. As stated on the book's back cover "While encouraging readers to vote with their forks for healthier diets, this book insists that it's also necessary to vote with votes to make healthier diet choices more available, accessible, and affordable for everyone."

The full report may be downloaded here.
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