Food Deserts or Food Swamps?


Access to healthy, varied and affordable foods has a great impact on individual dietary patterns and diet-related health outcomes. Consequently, there is an increasing interest in identifying food deserts - areas with poor access to supermarkets or other food retailers that provide a wide range of healthy and affordable food. Using geographic information systems (GIS), this study examines geographic accessibility to both supermarkets and fast food outlets, and explores their relationship with neighbourhood socioeconomic and zoning characteristics to identify food deserts and food swamps in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The results show that access to supermarkets and fast food outlets varied by neighbourhood-level socioeconomic deprivation in Windsor, with socioeconomically disadvantaged areas having better food access than advantaged areas. Consistent with previous findings in other Canadian cities, this study finds that food swamps were more prevalent than food deserts in Windsor.


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