Despite advances in medical technology and public health practices over the past few decades, there has been a steady increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes among low-income urban residents in the US. For this population, maintaining a diet consisting of nutritious foods is complicated by a number of physical and social barriers. In cities, a coalescence of social, spatial, and economic factors influence the availability of healthy food in any given place. The urban food environment contextualizes the structural and individual-level norms that drive daily decision-making about what to eat. Understanding and acting on the processes that reduce these residents' access to healthy foods will make for a healthier urban landscape. A new paper by M.J. Widener, S.S. Metcalf, and Y. Bar-Yam advances the discussion of food deserts by using an agent-based model to simulate the impact of various policy interventions on low-income households’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
M.J. Widener, S.S. Metcalf, and Y. Bar-Yam, Agent-based Modeling of Policies to Improve Urban Food Access for Low-income Populations. Applied Geography. 40 pp. 1-10. 2013.