Tuesday Roundup: Access to Food Not the Problem

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Having better access to a supermarket doesn’t improve diets, according to a study done by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The theory has been that poor diets are often caused by a lack of access to good foods. People living in so-called “food deserts” eat poorly because they don’t have decent choices nearby. 

The North Carolina study found this not to be true — that people who have fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods don’t necessarily improve their diets. The study did find that income and proximity to fast food restaurants were related to  poor nutrition.

The researchers tracked thousands of people in several large cities over 15 years. They found no relationship between the distance people lived from full-service supermarkets and the amount of healthful foods eaten, such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats and whole grains.

This study confirmed the findings in other research, which also did not find that easy access to good foods led to a change in diets.

•A large study of older veterans has found that even mild brain injuries can raised the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia later in life. 

A disproportionate number of service members come from rural communities — and as they return home, these communities could see a large number of these kinds of cases.

• The election in the Cherokee Nation is still up in the air. The vote for chief of the Cherokee tribe has had two official winners. In fact, the challenger and the incumbent have both been declared the winner twice.

The contest is between Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith and councilman Bill John Baker. The Chief controls business and gaming interests and administers a $600 million annual budget. The AP reports on the campaign:

Baker and Smith waged bare-knuckle campaigns in the weeks leading up to the June 25 election, with each accusing the other of negative campaigning and resorting to questionable campaign tactics. At odds on almost every issue, they fought over how many jobs the nation was creating for the Cherokee people, spending on health care and even Smith’s use of a twin-engine airplane the tribe has owned for 38 years.

• The AP reports that many rural Kansas counties are reluctant to participate in a new state program that gives tax breaks for people who move into places that have been losing population. 

• Yes, there is such a thing as a “trophy farm.”

DTN’s Marcia Zarley Taylor writes about Corn Belt properties selling for more than $10,000 per acre. There have been dozens this year, she reports. 

Facing South lays out the numbers on the study finding that there are more birth defects in areas of Appalachia where there is mountaintop removal coal mines. 

In non-mining areas of the mountains, there are 144 birth defects for every 100,000 babies born. In mining areas, where ammonium nitrate fuel oil explosives are used, there are 235 birth defects.

And that’s just the beginning.

• The Times goes into more detail into the decision by Delta to cut air service to two dozen smaller cities. 

The airline industry just doesn’t have planes that make sense for smaller markets. 

 

 

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