Foodscapes, Inequality, and Disease: Interrelationships between Food Environment and Public Health in Charlottesville, VA

Rebecca Tippett, University of Virginia
Susan Clapp, University of Virginia

Relative to white and higher socioeconomic status groups, minority and low socioeconomic status groups experience disproportionate mortality and morbidity from diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Recent research has focused on the concept of “food deserts,” areas lacking ready access to healthful and affordable food, as a potential mechanism driving the relationship between race, class, and health. One of the major challenges in studying food deserts has been effectively classifying or characterizing the local food environment, leading to a lack of consensus among researchers on the interrelationships among race and class, food environment, and health outcomes. Focusing on the Charlottesville, Virginia metropolitan statistical area, we use local data to address two main questions: 1) Do neighborhood socio-demographic characteristics, such as race and class, predict characteristics of the local food environment? 2) Are lower quality local food environments associated with poorer public health outcomes?

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2