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A food desert in Detroit: associations with food shopping and eating behaviors, dietary intakes and obesity

March 2016

Katarzyna Budzynska, Patricia West, Ruth Savoy-Moore, Darlene Lindsey, Michael Winter, PK Newby


Obesity is a major public health issue in and around Detroit. Despite being a “food desert”, it was difficult to determine if access to supermarkets played a role in one’s health once other factors such as demographics, disease status, and diet knowledge were considered. The study concluded that the associations between living in a food desert and obesity are complex and need to be further researched.

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Policy Implications

Examining the impact of built environments on obesity will help policymakers address obesity prevention and form public health strategies. This includes further studying the relationship between transportation and sufficient food access in Detroit. Policymakers must also consider what role racial/ethnic identity has in food deserts.

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