Poor accessibility to affordable healthy foods is associated with higher rates of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. We present our process evaluation of a youth-targeted environmental intervention (Baltimore Healthy Eating Zones) that aimed to increase the availability of healthy foods and promote these foods through signage, taste tests and other interactive activities in low-income Baltimore City. Trained peer educators reinforced program messages. Dose, fidelity and reach—as measured by food stocking, posting of print materials, distribution of giveaways and number of interactions with community members—were collected in six recreation centers and 21 nearby corner stores and carryouts. Participating stores stocked promoted foods and promotional print materials with moderate fidelity. Interactive sessions were implemented with high reach and dose among both adults and youth aged 10–14 years, with more than 4000 interactions. Recreation centers appear to be a promising location to interact with low-income youth and reinforce exposure to messages.
Studies of 'food deserts', neighborhoods in which healthy food is expensive and/or difficult to find, have received much recent political attention. These studies reflect the popularity of a social ecology in public health, rising concerns over an obesity 'epidemic', and the increasing ease of spatial analysis using geographic information systems (GIS). This paper critically examines these areas, arguing that work on food deserts is a spatialized form of neoliberal paternalism that bounds health problems within low-income communities. Alternative analyses of the urban food landscape, based on work in political ecology and critical GIS, may suggest more equitable paths forward. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
Prepared food sources, including fast food restaurants and carry-outs, are common in low-income urban areas. These establishments provide foods high in calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. The aims of the study were to (1) describe the development and implementation of a carry-out intervention to provide and promote healthy food choices in prepared food sources, and (2) to assess its feasibility through a process evaluation
If we are to create a society that values black life, we cannot ignore the role of food and land.
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