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Health Place. 2008 Mar;14(1):32-44. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Fried chicken and fresh apples: racial segregation as a fundamental cause of fast food density in black neighborhoods.

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1
Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 W. 168th St., 9th Floor, New York, NY 10032, USA. nak2106@columbia.edu

Abstract

As rates of overweight and obesity have surged in the US, researchers have turned attention to the environmental context of diet and disparities in access to healthful foods. Despite evidence that Black neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to fast food, few explanations have been advanced to illuminate explanatory mechanisms. This paper contends that race-based residential segregation is a fundamental cause of fast food density in Black neighborhoods. Segregation's effects on population and economic characteristics, physical infrastructure, and social processes work in tandem to increase the likelihood that Black neighborhoods in urban environments will bear a disproportionate burden of fast food restaurants.

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