Canadian cities have ‘food deserts’: study

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 1:31 PM ET
CBC News

Areas where people have little or no access to grocery stores are cropping up in Canadian cities, a new study suggests.

These “urban food deserts” are created as supermarkets — much like the population — abandon the downtown core for the suburbs, explained University of Western Ontario associate professor Jason Gilliland.

Gilliland and colleague Kristian Larsen studied the distribution of grocery stores in London, Ont., and whether they were accessible.

Contrary to studies of Edmonton and Montreal, where researchers did not find deserts to be a problem, Gilliland and Larsen found that London lacked access to food shops.

“Supermarket accessibility is poor throughout the city of London,” the study said. “The overall findings indicate that distinct food deserts do exist, particularly in the East London neighbourhoods.”

They also noted accessibility problems in the city centre.

In a study published in the International Journal of Health Geographics, the pair found the number of residents who had easy access to a supermarket has dropped from 75 per cent to 20 per cent over 40 years.

They created a database mapping supermarket locations between 1961 and 2005 and the changes in accessibility, considering shops that were a 10- to 15-minute walk, roughly 1,000 metres, or a 10-minute bus ride without transfers accessible.

Urban food deserts pose financial, health problems

Gilliland told CBC News that these deserts can seriously affect the health and finances of residents.

Lacking a grocery store, people end up shopping at convenience stores, he explained, where prices are on average 1.6 times higher.

It’s not just hurting their pocket books, he said, as the food purchased at these stores is often less nutritious than what is available at the supermarket, increasing the odds of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Gilliland said that lower-income people are the most affected by living in the desert, listing examples such as “single mothers who may not have the time to drive across town. People with mobility restrictions. People for whom it would be very difficult to get on a bus with eight bags of groceries.”

In order to remedy these problems, Gilliland said cities must actively encourage supermarkets to move into the area.

External Links

International Journal of Health Geographics study

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external sites – links will open in new window)


Please feel free to add feedback, additional info, alternative contact details, related links, articles, anonymous submission, etc. as a comment below, via web-form, through social media or mail us directly and confidentially at: dumpharper [at] live [dot] ca


This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. and intend its use to be for education and instructional purposes only. Therefore, we believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

ShareAlike Statement: https://dumpharper.wordpress.com/sharealike/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s