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In considering the problem of food deserts, places in America where grocery stores simply don’t exist, today we also consider the societal impact of “food swamps,” places overloaded with junk food purveyors. Is it better to provide health food or eliminate junk food?
Researchers examined data from about 5,000 young adults in four communities across the United States, and found that supermarket and grocery store access translated into neither an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption nor a healthier diet. What the study did find, however, is that a close proximity to fast food restaurants correlated with eating more fast food for one demographic—low-income men. Instead of pushing for more new supermarkets, the authors suggest that taxing junk food and subsidizing healthy food might make a bigger difference in how everyone eats.