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WSB Channel 2 Atlanta
More than a dozen metro counties have ‘food swamps.’ This is what that means...
By Linda Stouffer,
You’ve heard of food deserts, but now researchers are looking at a serious issue called “food swamps”— which is where communities are inundated with mostly only unhealthy options for people to eat.
Malcolm Bevel with the Georgia Cancer Center is studying how a food environment plays a role in different health issues, especially in lower-income areas.
“The only difference between a food desert and a food swamp are the types of foods that you have available to you. So, a food swamp is where you live more than one mile from a grocery store, and you have more pro-inflammatory, unhealthy food options,” Bevel said.
Gas stations, liquor stores, and fast food make it more convenient to afford and choose unhealthy food. Bevel and his team broke down their research on a county level.
“If you’re residing in these counties that have bad food swamp environments or they scored higher on our system -- on our scoring system, you had a 77% increase, odds of having higher obesity, cancer mortality,” Bevel said.
A dozen counties across metro Atlanta have been flagged as being among the worst for food swamps. The rest of North Georgia still scored on the high end, above the 50th percentile.
Douglas County is one of a dozen local counties considered trouble spots. Bevel’s research echoes that of another study done on the neighborhood level by the American Cancer Society.