College of Health Sciences


Health Sciences

Graduate Level


Graduate Program/Concentration

Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Promotion

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Introduction: Health behaviors and outcomes are greatly influenced by the food environment that individuals reside in and have access to. Poorer health outcomes have been shown to be associated with communities that have a higher ratio of convenience stores and fast-food restaurants in comparison to healthier food store options. The purpose of this study is to explain how the food environment and health inequalities are linked to an increased incidence of chronic diseases in predominantly minority and/or low-income communities.

Methods: A literature review was conducted on databases such as National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Agriculture, Elsevier, American Journal of Public Health, Old Dominion University Database, Google Scholar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The PECOS method was also used to specify the inclusion of the target populations within the United States.

Results: This review found that there are many barriers to healthy food resource access that impacts the eating choices of minority and low-income populations that have experienced many disadvantages. There were higher rates of chronic illnesses and poorer health outcomes in the target populations’ communities as a result of greater access to convenience stores and fast-food restaurants.

Discussion: Structural bias, social inequities, and racism have created the health challenges in vulnerable populations such as minorities and low-income communities. The advocacy for environmental justice and increased implementation and regulation of zoning laws regarding the food resource environment needs to increase for change to take place. The overall health outcomes of the target populations would improve with greater access to healthier food options that are affordable. In addition, greater health promotion and education efforts on nutrition would help to close the gap and eliminate the barriers that exist.


Public Health



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The Food Environment and its Linkage to an Increased Incidence of Chronic Illnesses in Predominantly Minority and Low-Income Neighborhoods

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