UW-Madison UW-Madison

Staff Paper No. 572 - Abstract

Poverty, Public Health and Local Foods

Steven C. Deller [scdeller@wisc.edu]
Laura Brown
Amber Canto

Staff Paper No. 572, February 2014, 38p.


In this exploratory analysis we explore the interplay between poverty, public health and access to local foods using data for U.S. counties. We ask one simple question: Does access to local foods dampen or mitigate the relationship between poverty and health? As expected we find a strong relationship between poverty and public health and we also find that access to higher levels of local foods activity is associated with higher levels of public health. The interaction between poverty and local foods, however, suggests that higher concentrations of both are associated with poorer, not better health. From a global perspective we find that the presence of local foods related activity tends to have a positive impact on health, but that relationship is not consistent across the United States. Our results suggest that the interplay between local foods, poverty and health is subtle and the resulting policy implications may make sense in some parts of the United States but not in others.
Last updated on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 12:00pm