In many areas, the D.C. food environment presents a serious health and wellness challenge to the city’s most vulnerable residents. This was demonstrated through a block-level study assessing the impact of the local D.C. food environment on public health by Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group. The study found that 88% of the over 520 food retailers are unhealthy “fringe” food retailers; only 12% are “mainstream”, terms coined by MG. Nearly 200,000 residents live on blocks where the closest healthy food retailer is 3 times farther or more than the closest fringe food retailer, creating a condition called “Food Imbalance” that MG also coined. For these residents, we found large and statistically significant negative health impacts with all diet-related diseases, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The most alarming finding, however, concerns newborns. With individual data, we controlled for gestational age and the mother’s income, residence, education, age, alcohol and tobacco use, prenatal care, and marital status. What do you think we found? Download the fact sheet for a quick read, and the technical report for all the details.

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