The Obama administration's Healthy Food Financing Initiative, created to fund stores that will stock fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables in deprived areas, isn't working, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the February issue of Health Affairs and reported by the National Journal
, found the program's plan of adding supermarkets to areas in need of fresh produce doesn't lead to improvements in residents' diets or health outcomes.
The federal program was launched three years ago and has cost about $500 million so far.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Penn State University's departments of sociology, anthropology, and demography, made the conclusion after studying two neighborhoods in Philadelphia where food markets under the program had been opened.
They found that customers who used one of the new markets had no significant improvement in their body mass index or fruit and vegetable intake.
Researchers say other areas in the United States must be studied before a definitive conclusion is reached. But the first study suggests policymakers might rethink the federal program as a way to better promote healthier eating habits.
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