Environmental and social factors contribute to health inequities in low-income neighborhoods, where residents face disproportionately high rates of preventable chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Healthy diets can prevent these diseases. While few neighborhoods in San Francisco would fit the definition of a “food desert,” where there is little to no access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food, a number of neighborhoods could be classified as “food swamps,” where cheap, unhealthy food and beverages, tobacco, and alcohol predominate. Research suggests that both the types and the quantity of food (and beverages) we consume are heavily influenced by environmental cues, such as the advertising and the food we most commonly encounter.[i] This indicator measures the balance between healthy and less healthy food retailers, to gauge how the food environment might be impacting residents’ food choices.
The percent of food retail that falls within the classification of healthy, including general grocery (including supermarkets), produce market, meat/seafood market, or farmers market has remained relatively stable in both the city and the CMTL boundary over the past five years. In 2015 there were about 23 stores within the CMTL that fall within the “healthy” classification, out of 83 stores total. However, compared to the city, the percent of food retailers considered healthy is about 10 percentage points lower in CMTL – indicating that less healthy retailers take up more of the retail landscape. This however, does not capture the nuances of individual store offerings. The Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition creates an annual shopping guide, auditing stores and providing scores based on healthy offerings and detailing the healthy foods that can be found at each establishment (here). Click through the stores on the map to see the most recent ratings and highlights.
Store locations and classifications obtained from Yelp (https://www.yelp.com/).
Store ratings and healthy highlights from the Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition (http://www.healthytl.org/).
WIC and CalFresh Acceptance data from the California Department of Public Health (http://gis.cdph.ca.gov/NEOPBGIS/).
[i] Cohen DA, Farley TA. Eating as an automatic behavior. Prev Chronic Dis. 2008;5(1):A23.