THURSDAY, July 22, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — Adjustments in Individuals’ grocery shopping habits through the pandemic made pre-existing gaps in entry to meals even worse, researchers report.

Whereas many wealthier folks switched to on-line ordering and did extra stocking up, most low-income folks nonetheless needed to store in-person at native small grocers and greenback shops and accomplish that frequently as a result of they could not afford to top off on groceries.

That is the discovering of a research that examined 2020 knowledge on in-person site visitors at almost 400 grocery sellers within the Columbus, Ohio, space earlier than lockdown (Jan. 6 – March 15), throughout lockdown (March 16 – April 19) and through preliminary reopening (April 20 – Might 31).

Whereas mid- and high-end grocery shops and big-box meals retailers within the metropolis had important drops in foot site visitors throughout lockdown, greenback shops and smaller unbiased grocers — notably in low-income neighborhoods and people serving many individuals of coloration — had solely a small lower in buyer visits.

“Most low-income folks nonetheless had to buy groceries in individual through the COVID lockdowns and should not have had the financial capacity to top off on meals,” stated lead research creator Armita Kar, a doctoral scholar in geography at Ohio State College.

“They took fewer journeys to mid- and high-end grocery shops outdoors their neighborhood and continued to go frequently to the shops that have been nearest to them, which have been the greenback shops and native grocers,” Kar stated in a college information launch.

The issues confronted by poor folks throughout pandemic lockdowns aren’t new, in response to research co-author Huyen Le, an assistant professor of geography at Ohio State.

“COVID-19 exacerbated the prevailing issues of unequal entry to meals for low-income folks,” Le stated.

“The wealthy and poor have been principally procuring at totally different meals shops earlier than COVID-19, and people variations turned much more stark when the lockdown got here,” stated research co-author Harvey Miller, director of Ohio State’s Middle for City and Regional Evaluation.

The findings spotlight the necessity to present higher meals procuring choices for low-income individuals who stay in so-called meals deserts, in response to Le.

“Greenback shops principally supply packaged and extremely processed meals that are not wholesome,” Le stated. “Policymakers ought to study methods to offer higher procuring choices for folks in low-income areas, in order that they have higher entry to wholesome meals.”

The research can be revealed within the September concern of the journal Utilized Geography.

Extra data

The U.S. Division of Agriculture provides suggestions for healthy eating on a budget.

SOURCE: Ohio State College, information launch, July 19, 2021

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