Have you ever heard of a food swamp? Food swamps are places where unhealthy food is basically everywhere. In food swamps, there are about four unhealthy options for each healthy one. These specific regions could have a strong link to obesity.
According to a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, food swamps could potentially predict the obesity rate better than food deserts. Similar to food swamps, food deserts are areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The researchers wanted to see if food swamps were in the same location as food deserts. Other studies have debated whether or not food deserts are to blame for high obesity rates.
But food swamps could possibly give better clues — the study said people with access to reliable transportation could get out of the swamp to get healthy meals. These swamps were found next to highway exits often — zoning laws could be a solution to some regions having less healthy food than others. This could restrict access to the unhealthy stuff while incentivizing healthy options at the same time.
South LA has already tried something similar to this and banned stand-alone fast food places. But their goal of healthier options didn’t happen, because the establishments just moved into strip malls.