Fresh vs. fast food

An abudance of drive-thru meals is another health issue

While food desert analysis focuses on the scarcity of supermarkets, the abundance of fast food is another major public health concern. In 2011 the Atlanta Regional Commission analyzed the locations of more than 400 supermarkets and 1,200 fast food spots in the twenty-county metro region. Some of the notable findings:

More poverty, less fresh food
While almost equal percentages of Atlanta’s poorest and wealthiest areas have greater than average access to fast food, the difference is striking when it comes to fresh food: 86 percent of very high-income areas have greater than average access to fresh food.

Sprawl, vacant lots, and reduced food options
Neither fresh nor fast food is easy to find in exurban areas with low populations or urban areas with high vacancy rates.

Race and fast food
Metro Atlanta’s fast food restaurants are disproportionately located in communities with many people of color. The more white people in an area, the fewer the fast food locations.

Of African Americans live in census tracts with supermarkets, compared with 31 percent of whites.

Read the main feature: “Stranded in Atlanta’s Food Deserts

This article originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.