A “food desert” is a geographical area where residents don’t have access to healthy food. The term “food swamp” was coined in February 2009 in the paper, “Deserts in New Orleans?: Illustrations of Urban Food Access and Implications for Policy,” by Donald Rose, et al., of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. From the abstract:
“Given the current problems of over-nutrition, the paper concludes by suggesting a more useful geographic metaphor would be ‘food swamps,’ areas in which large relative amounts of energy-dense snack foods, inundate healthy food options.”
The term “food swamp” has been used mostly in contrast to the popular term “food desert.”
The University of Michigan—National Poverty Center
DESERTS IN NEW ORLEANS?
ILLUSTRATIONS OF URBAN FOOD ACCESS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY
Donald Rose, J. Nicholas Bodor, Chris M. Swalm,
Janet C. Rice, Thomas A. Farley, Paul L. Hutchinson
School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paper prepared for:
University of Michigan National Poverty Center/USDA Economic Research Service Research
“Understanding the Economic Concepts and Characteristics of Food Access”
Given the current problems of over-nutrition, the paper concludes by suggesting a more useful geographic metaphor would be “food swamps,” areas in which large relative amounts of energy-dense snack foods, inundate healthy food options.
The caloric imbalance that leads to obesity is, of course, an issue about entire diets, not specific foods. But the extensive amount of energy-dense offerings available at these venues may in fact inundate, or swamp out, what
relatively few healthy choice foods there are. Thus, we suggest that a more useful metaphor to be used is “food swamps” rather than food deserts.
The Food Section
POSTED BY JOSH FRIEDLAND ON OCT 13, 2009
food swamp (noun): A geographic area where the overabundance of high-energy foods (for example, caloric snacks sold at convenience stores) inundate healthy food options.
Authors Donald Rose, J. Nicholas Bodor, Chris M. Swalm, Janet C. Rice, Thomas A. Farley, and Paul L. Hutchinson coined the term in a February 2009 paper, entitled Deserts in New Orleans? Illustrations of Urban Food Access and Implications for Policy (PDF), as an alternative to food desert, commonly defined as “deprived areas with poor access to retail food outlets.”
OCLC WorldCat record
Food desert or food swamp? : an in-depth exploration of neighbourhood food environments in Eastern Porirua and Whitby : a thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Public Health at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Author: Carly Louise Woodham
Dissertation: Thesis (MPH)--University of Otago, 2011.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Walmart’s Fresh Food Makeover
16 Sep 2011
Calling neighborhoods deserts may also reinforce the idea that poor communities have no resources on which to build and need to be rescued by some outside force, says Williams. Other terms have been proposed: “food swamp,” “grocery gap,” “food red-lining,” “food apartheid.” But as some activists contest the food desert label, many policy-makers and grocery chains have run with the term—and none more than Walmart.
New York (NY) Times
Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity
By GINA KOLATA
Published: April 17, 2012
Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, “you can get basically any type of food,” said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. “Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert,” he said.
89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio
Food swamps, not deserts? Studies say more urban access to food than thought
Patt Morrison | April 19th, 2012, 12:22pm
There’s been ample coverage of reports on food deserts, those swaths of lower income, urban neighborhoods said to be barren of fresh fruits and vegetables, with Michelle Obama and others promoting grocery store access. Are these areas, however, actually store-filled food swamps? A few recent studies claim as much.
One study is “The Role of Local Food Availability and Explaining Obesity Risk,” published in the March issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, authored by researcher Helen Lee of nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank the Public Policy Institute of California.
Lee’s study found that not only are there nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores in lower income neighborhoods as wealthier ones, but these poor areas have more than three times as many corner stores per square mile, and nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.