Fast Food Firms Targeting Low Income/Minorities
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that fast food consumption is directly associated with the location of fast food restaurants – particularly among low-income neighborhoods.
The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the closer fast food restaurants are to low-income neighborhoods, the more fast food was eaten. This research confirms what many have suspected: That fast food may well be targeted to low-income families.
Today’s conventional fast food typically consists primarily of fried foods, fatty animal foods, foods high in salt, foods high in saturated fats, foods high in trans fatty acids, low-fiber foods and foods high in refined sweeteners. Other Research has tied fast foods to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
The research used 15 years of data taken from the was part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. The CARDIA study followed 5,115 adults (ages 18 to 30 years old). The study used four testing periods, totaling 15,854 person-tests.
Fast food consumption went up dramatically when a fast food restaurant was located between 1 and 3 kilometers (.6 – 2 miles) away from the home of an adult. This trend was seen particularly among the low income segment of the population.
Other research has found fast food companies target same demographics
Other research has found that fast food restaurants appear to be targeting low income Americans and minorities. In another study, this one from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, found that among 21 different studies that analyzed the relationship between fast food restaurant locations and socioeconomic factors, three-quarters (76%) of them determined that fast food restaurants were predominantly placed in low-income neighborhoods.
They also found 10 of 12 studies that analyzed fast food locations and race determined that fast food restaurants were more prevalent in neighborhoods with larger populations of minority residents.
This either indicates that fast food corporations are targeting low income minorities, or perhaps it is a coincidence.
Six studies of adults also found that body mass indexes were higher in areas that had fast food restaurants.
Boone-Heinonen J, Gordon-Larsen P, Kiefe CI, Shikany JM, Lewis CE, Popkin BM. Fast food restaurants and food stores: longitudinal associations with diet in young to middle-aged adults: the CARDIA study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jul 11;171(13):1162-70.
Fleischhacker SE, Evenson KR, Rodriguez DA, Ammerman AS. A systematic review of fast food access studies. Obes Rev. 2011 May;12(5):e460-71.