Neighborhood disparities in access to healthy foods and their effects on environmental justice

Am J Public Health. 2012 Sep;102(9):1644-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300865. Epub 2012 Jul 19.


Environmental justice is concerned with an equitable distribution of environmental burdens. These burdens comprise immediate health hazards as well as subtle inequities, such as limited access to healthy foods. We reviewed the literature on neighborhood disparities in access to fast-food outlets and convenience stores. Low-income neighborhoods offered greater access to food sources that promote unhealthy eating. The distribution of fast-food outlets and convenience stores differed by the racial/ethnic characteristics of the neighborhood. Further research is needed to address the limitations of current studies, identify effective policy actions to achieve environmental justice, and evaluate intervention strategies to promote lifelong healthy eating habits, optimum health, and vibrant communities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environment*
  • Fast Foods / supply & distribution
  • Food Supply / standards*
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States