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Environmental Justice

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Minorities -- Food supply, Food security -- Effect of race discrimination on


Minority communities across the United States have limited numbers of stores that offer a variety of fruits and vegetables, creating major barriers to good eating habits and nutritional practices among minority groups such as African Americans. Factors like environmental availability of healthy food options have not been fully investigated as possible sources of current cross-population differences in disease. The present study examined whether a predominantly African American neighborhood had disproportionately less availability of fruits and vegetables than a predominantly non-Hispanic White neighborhood. Availability was judged on the bases of the types of stores available in each community and the specific types of fruits and vegetables made available in each store. The availability of fruits and vegetables in the food stores of each community was assessed by physically canvassing neighborhood food stores and taking a census of available fruit and vegetable items based on a list of fruits and vegetables derived from the DASH diet. The predominantly African American community under study had fewer varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer stores offering larger varieties of fruits and vegetables. Reduced choice to purchase fruits and vegetables among minority populations potentially increases health disparities. Improving local food environments is one important strategy to increase access to a healthy diet in minority communities.


This is a copy of an article published in the Environmental Justice © 2008 copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; Environmental Justice is available online at:



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