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As if unhealthy meals being served in restaurants are not enough, now this finding of restaurants pushing unhealthy meals to public housing is really disturbing.
Restaurants in public housing development neighborhoods offer less healthy entrées
Researchers decided to compare restaurant marketing by restaurant and neighborhood type, reports the American Journal of Health Behavior. In the public housing development neighborhoods there was lower income and a higher minority population than in comparison neighborhoods. The restaurants in public housing development neighborhoods had less healthy entrées than in comparison neighborhoods. Fast food restaurants were found to offer:
1: Cheaper beverages
2: More children's meals
3: Supersize drinks
4: Free prize with purchase
It was concluded that residents of lower socioeconomic neighborhoods appear to be differentially exposed to unhealthy food options.
The researchers observed that about 75 percent of entrées served at restaurants located near housing developments contained too many calories and fats and not enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Katie Heinrich, a Kansas State University assistant professor of kinesiology, has said, "There is the thought that people are unhealthy because they make poor choices, and that can certainly be true. But there is a huge influence from the environment that people are in that goes beyond individual responsibility." Heinrich goes on to point out that 75 percent of the time it's going to be way too easy to select an unhealthy entrée from a menu because the majority of a menu is made up of those unhealthy entrées.
In addition to finding that restaurants in housing developments had fewer options for healthy entrées, researchers found:
Fast-food restaurants used more "point-of-purchase" advertising—in-store advertising that presented options to supersize meal items, toys with purchase, mascots and other tactics aimed at younger consumers.
Table-service restaurants had more entrées and more healthy entrées than fast-food restaurants.