"If you build it, they will come" might not apply to putting more grocery stores in poor Americans' neighborhoods.
Doing so doesn't necessarily improve residents' eating habits or reduce obesity rates, a new study suggests.
Healthy foods can be hard to find in poor neighborhoods. To address the problem, some recently introduced programs in the United States use loans and grants to boost the number of local grocery stores in these areas. However, the effectiveness of these programs in improving diet and reducing obesity has not been closely examined.
In the new study, researchers from Penn State University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine assessed the impact of a new supermarket that opened in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia. The store was one of 88 new or expanded food retail outlets opened in the area under the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative.