Navigating L.A.’s food deserts: why so many have access to so little

The statistical disparities are shocking: for residents in South Los Angeles, the rate of obesity is 34.4%; for those living in West L.A. it’s 11.7%. The rate of obesity for teenagers in South L.A. is 19.6%; for teens in West L.A. it’s 4.1%. Neighborhood differences of race, ethnicity, and income are primary determinants of health disparities and access to healthy foods. How is it that neighborhoods, in some cases just a few miles apart, produce such radically varying degrees of health and nutrition? The areas of East and South Los Angeles are essentially food deserts, providing limited options for fresh produce and healthier food, especially when compared to their more affluent neighbors. What are the contrasts in the health of these disparate populations of Angelenos, and how did the nutritional gaps grow to be so wide?

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