Emory University
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'Food deserts' lead to host of health problems

Cardiologist Heval Mohamed Kelli found that Atlantans living in low-income areas distant from access to healthy foods—“food deserts” where the nearest supermarket was a mile or more away—were more likely to have hypertension or hyperlipidemia, smoke, be obese, and have higher levels of systemic inflammatory markers and stiffer arteries. Kelli’s research was conducted through the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute, using information on 712 community participants from the META-Health study and 709 Emory and Georgia Tech employees from the Predictive Health study.

“Neighborhood characteristics that affect availability of healthy foods contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease beyond their effects on traditional risk factors,” Kelli says.

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