Neighborhood racial composition, neighborhood wealth, and the surrounding food environment in metro Atlanta area
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Inequalities in accessibility to food outlets might be associated with the disproportionate burden of obesity among minority and low income communities. While a large body of literatures has focused on the disparities in accessibility to a certain type of food outlet (supermarket or fast food restaurant), few has accounted for the co-occurrence of food outlets in the food environment, leading to potential estimation bias. The objective of this study is to quantify the food environment in Metro Atlanta by examining the food outlet balance of supermarkets and fast food restaurants, and explored the association of the food outlet balance with key neighborhood characteristics. From the non-driver’s perspective, Black-dominant neighborhoods were found to be less likely of having a healthy food outlet balance, compared to White-dominate neighborhoods. This trend, however, was reversed from the driver’s perspective, where Black-dominant neighborhoods were found to be more likely of having a healthy food outlet balance. Meanwhile, Income was found insignificant in both the non-driver’s and the driver’s scenarios. These findings urge for future planning efforts to bring more food outlets, at a healthy balance, closer to Black-dominant neighborhoods.