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Researchers in the Department of Public Health at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. reveal that limited access to healthy food stores, walkable neighborhoods, and healthy social environments may set the stage for heart disease.
In the study, researchers studied over 5,000 adults over a twelve year period, checking coronary artery calcium and amounts of atherosclerosis in their arteries, a disease that can harden arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
The common thread among the 86 percent of adults with coronary artery calcium, was the decreased access to heart-healthy food.
Co-lead author Ella August, Ph.D., explained in a recent article that the only significant factor that deters or increases the risk of calcium build-up in the arteries were if adults lived one mile from healthy food stores, giving more need to healthy food stores in low-socioeconomic areas.
Healthy food financing initiatives may help increase access for Latino families, who often live in areas that have little access to healthy foods, and possibly reduce risks of chronic diseases like heart disease.
Heart healthy foods, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), include a diet high in fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, fish, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy products.
Limiting unhealthy foods like red meats, sugar, fried foods and sugary beverages, can help prevent chronic disease.
To learn more about this study, click here.
To learn more about the need for healthier food access to increase the health of Latino families and kids, click here.