Navigating L.A.'s Food Deserts

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

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David McNew/Getty Images

Fast food chains line Figueroa Street in South Los Angeles

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?

Guests:

Toni Yancey, M.D., MPH, Professor in the Department of Health Services and Co-Director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the UCLA School of Public Health

Lark Galloway-Gilliam, Executive Director, Community Health Councils

Steve Diaz, Community Organizer, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN)


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