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Fast Food Is Preferred By Young People, Whether Healthy Food Is Nearby Or Not

July 12, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in the U.S. who studied fast food consumption data from 5,115 young adults found that having fast-food restaurants in the neighborhood is strongly associated with the amount of fast food consumed. However, living near grocery stores and supermarkets has no impact on healthy diet choices, a finding that tends to belie assumptions – often inspiring federal policies on food – that lower income people often eat unhealthy diets because they have less access to healthy foods, and greater access to junk foods. The researchers said classifying restaurants and food stores as healthy or unhealthy “may provide little understanding of how the food environment impacts diet and may overlook innovative policy solutions."
J. Boone-Heinonen, et al., "Fast Food Restaurants and Food Stores: Longitudinal Associations With Diet in Young to Middle-aged Adults: The CARDIA Study", Archives of Internal Medicine, July 12, 2011, © American Medical Association
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