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Diet Demographics & Statistics Environment Lifestyle

People Living In “Food Deserts” Consume Different Diets

1 year, 10 months ago

2666  0
Posted on Feb 08, 2018, 11 a.m.

Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a study identifying nutritional profiles and food choices of people living in “food deserts’. People living in areas with less access to grocery shops consume food that is 5-17% higher in fat content, sugars, and cholesterol when compared to people living in non-food desert areas. The United States Department of Agriculture uses the term food desert to describe areas based on the availability of fresh food.

Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a study identifying nutritional profiles and food choices of people living in “food deserts’. People living in areas with less access to grocery shops consume food that is 5-17% higher in fat content, sugars, and cholesterol when compared to people living in non-food desert areas. The United States Department of Agriculture uses the term food desert to describe areas based on the availability of fresh food.

 

The use of technology has helped to identify nutritional profiles and food choices of people living in both kinds of areas across all of America. This study included over 3 million geo-tagged posts on the social media platform Instagram, of which food is king. Researchers discovered that food posted/consumed by people in food deserts were at least 5-17% higher in fat content, sugars, and cholesterol when compared to people living in non-food desert areas. Social media allows an opportunity to study what people in all areas are actually consuming in a new way.

 

The study was able to identify specific foods that are the most exclusive to each area in the four regions of the country. Southwest food desert: barbeque, burritos and pork vs non-food desert: bananas, tomatoes, and asparagus. MidWest food desert: Brisket, hamburgers, and hotdogs vs non-food desert: kale, beans, and spinach. SouthEast food desert: grits, bacon, and potatoes vs non-food desert: peaches, collard greens, and oranges. West food desert: sausage, beef, and pie vs non-food desert: crab, quinoa, and apples.

 

48% of food posts mention fruit and vegetables from people in non-food desert, while only 33% mention them in food deserts. The researchers used the USDA’s database to create nutritional profiles for both the food desert and non-food desert groups, noting that the calorie content did not differ much, but the levels of sugars, cholesterol, and fats were significantly higher in the areas of food deserts, especially in the SouthWest and West. The areas having the smallest differences were the SouthEast.

 

Pictures of food and meals posted are most likely to be what is the staple of each region in both areas suggesting no matter where people are from they know what their region is known for and are proud of it.

 

Materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

 

 

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