Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

The Association Between Census Tract Healthy Food Accessibility and Life Expectancy in the United States

  • Brief Report
  • Published:
Journal of Urban Health Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Accessibility of healthy food is an important predictor for several health outcomes, but its association with life expectancy is unclear. We evaluated the association between U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Research Atlas measures of healthy food accessibility and life expectancy at birth across contiguous U.S. census tracts using spatial modeling analysis. Both income and healthy food accessibility were associated with life expectancy at birth, as indicated by shorter life expectancy in low-income census tracts when comparing tracts with similar healthy food accessibility level, and in low-access tracts when comparing tracts with similar income level. Compared to high-income/high-access census tracts, life expectancy at birth was lower in high-income/low-access (− 0.33 years; 95% confidence interval − 0.42, − 0.28), low-income/high-access (− 1.45 years; − 1.52, − 1.38), and low-income/low-access (− 2.29 years; − 2.38, − 2.21) tracts after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and incorporating vehicle availability. Effective interventions to increase healthy food accessibility may improve life expectancy.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

References

  1. Boing AF, Boing AC, Cordes J, Kim R, Subramanian SV. Quantifying and explaining variation in life expectancy at census tract, county, and state levels in the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2020;117:17688–94.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Ekmekcioglu C. Nutrition and longevity - From mechanisms to uncertainties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60:3063–82.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Schlenker ED, Feurig JS, Stone LH, Ohlson MA, Mickelsen O. Nutrition and health of older people. Am J Clin Nutr. 1973;26:1111–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Black M, Bowman M. Nutrition and healthy aging. Clin Geriatr Med. 2020;36:655–69.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Scaglioni S, De Cosmi V, Ciappolino V, Parazzini F, Brambilla P, Agostoni C. Factors influencing children’s eating behaviours. Nutrients. 2018;10:706.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. McCullough M, Chantaprasopsuk S, Islami F, Um C, Rees-Punia E, Wang Y, Leach C, Sullivan L, Patel A. Socioeconomic and geographic predictors of poor diet quality in a large U.S. cohort of adult men and women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022;31:1512–3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Testa A, Jackson DB, Semenza DC, Vaughn MG. Food deserts and cardiovascular health among young adults. Public Health Nutr. 2021;24:117–24.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Cooksey-Stowers K, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Food swamps predict obesity rates better than food deserts in the United States. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14(11):1366. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111366.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast stats: leading causes of death. 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm. Accessed 20 Sept 2022.

  10. Arias E, Escobedo LA, Kennedy J, Fu C, Cisewki J. U.S. Small-area life expectancy estimates project: methodology and results summary. Vital Health Stat 2. 2018;(181):1–40.

  11. U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey (ACS) 2011–2015. 5-Year Estimates. https://www.socialexplorer.com/tables/ACS2015_5yr. Obtained from Social Explorere. Accessed 20 Sept 2022.

  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Access Research Atlas. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-access-research-atlas/. Accessed 20 Sept 2022.

  13. Dumas BL, Harris DM, McMahon JM, Daymude TJ, Warnock AL, Moore LV, Onufrak SJ. Prevalence of municipal-level policies dedicated to transportation that consider food access. Prev Chronic Dis. 2021;18:E97.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Belitz C, Brezger A, Kneib T, Lang S. BayesX - Software for bayesian inference in structured additive regression models. Version 2.0.1. 2011. https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/bayesx/550513.html.

  15. Chetty R, Stepner M, Abraham S, Lin S, Scuderi B, Turner N, Bergeron A, Cutler D. The association between income and life expectancy in the United States, 2001–2014. JAMA. 2016;315:16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Fong AJ, Lafaro K, Ituarte PHG, Fong YA-O. Association of living in urban food deserts with mortality from breast and colorectal cancer. Ann Surg Oncol. 2021;28:8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ghosh-Dastidar B, Cohen D, Hunter G, et al. Distance to store, food prices, and obesity in urban food deserts. Am J Prev Med. 2014;47(5):587–595. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.005.

  18. Zhen C. Food Deserts: myth or reality? Annu Rev Resour Economics. 2021;13:109–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Izeogu C, Idigo AJ, Howard AD, Lyerly MJ. Abstract TP195: geographic proximity to healthy food not associated with increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in stroke patients. Stroke 2019;50:ATP195-ATP195.

  20. Kelli HM, Kim JH, Samman Tahhan A, et al. Living in food deserts and adverse cardiovascular outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8(4):e010694. https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.118.010694.

  21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevenstion (CDC). Increase Access to Healthy Foods and Beverages. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/state-local-programs/nutrition.html. Accessed 20 Sept 2022.

  22. Klein NJ, Smart MJ. Car today, gone tomorrow: the ephemeral car in low-income, immigrant and minority families. Transportation. 2017;44:495–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Centers for Disease Control and Prevenstion (CDC). State Initiatives Supporting Healthier Food Retail: An Overview of the National Landscape. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/healthier_food_retail.pdf. Accessed 20 Sept 2022.

  24. Franco M, Diez Roux AV, Glass TA, Caballero B, Brancati FL. Neighborhood characteristics and availability of healthy foods in Baltimore. Am J Prev Med. 2008;35(6):561–567. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2008.07.003.

Download references

Funding

There was no external sponsor.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniel Wiese.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (DOCX 613 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Massey, J., Wiese, D., McCullough, M.L. et al. The Association Between Census Tract Healthy Food Accessibility and Life Expectancy in the United States. J Urban Health 100, 572–576 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-023-00742-x

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-023-00742-x

Navigation