Posted: December 2, 2022

Study examines connection between availability of healthy food options and health.

Limited availability of affordable and healthy foods can contribute to poor health outcomes, especially for residents of rural and low-income regions. That is one of the conclusions of a study conducted by Linlin Fan, assistant professor of agricultural economics, who examined the food environment for residents in the Mississippi Delta, a region that has one of the highest obesity rates in the United States.

The findings have important implications not only in the Mississippi Delta, but for other regions of the country where convenience stores and dollar stores generally make up the highest proportion of food retail stores available.

Key Takeaways:

  • The predominant food retail format in all counties was convenience stores.
  • Of the eight counties evaluated, only three had a supermarket.
  • Supermarkets provided the healthiest assortment of foods, followed by grocery stores.

Compared with the prices at supermarkets, the prices at convenience stores were 48 percent higher for grains; 35 percent higher for fruits and vegetables; 73 percent higher for meats; and 95 percent higher for beans, seeds, and nuts.

--Amy Duke