Spatial patterns of food swamps in the US: Comparing food security on college campuses and in their host communities

Authors: Charlie Zhang*, University of Louisville
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Applied Geography
Keywords: Food swamps, college campuses, health, host communities, USA
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 7, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The impact of food deserts or swamps on public health have been well documented. Latest research suggests that many communities across the U.S. are classified as food deserts or swamps because of the lack of affordable healthy nutritional food venues (e.g., grocery stores or restaurants) but over-dominated by unhealthy fast food outlets. However, no national research has investigated conditions of food security among America's college campuses. This paper aims to investigate the spatial patterns of food insecurity across US college/university campuses using data obtained from the USDA Food Access Research Atlas and the Princeton Review's college food survey. GIS and spatial statistical methods were used to explore the geographical aspects of food environment on college campuses in comparison to their host communities. We hypothesized that colleges and universities are more likely to have a more severe condition of food insecurity than their residing communities because of the cheap and quick nature of fast food. Findings from this research can not only enhance our understanding of national profile of food security among colleges and universities, but also can provide insight into health policies for improving food security on college campuses as well as in their affiliated communities.

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