TaxWatch Staff
/ Categories: Research, Health Care

The Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health & Property Values

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, a person’s diet can help one to reach and/or maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote overall health. Unhealthy eating habits contribute to obesity, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, one can help protect one’s self from these health problems.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that more than two in three adults and about one-third of children and adolescents aged six to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. Among adults aged 20 and older, overweight and obesity affect more than three in four Hispanics and Blacks, and about two in three Whites.

Florida is not immune from these issues. According to the United Health Foundation, Florida ranks 33rd among the 50 states in terms of the overall health of its residents. Specifically, Florida ranks:

  • 14th in cancer-related mortality rate, with 182 reported deaths per 100,000 population;

  • 15th in cardiovascular disease mortality rate (including heart disease and stroke), with 221

    reported deaths per 100,000 population;

  • 37th in the percentage of adults with diabetes (11.2 percent);

  • 7th in the percentage of adults who are obese (26.2 percent);

  • 32nd in the percentage of adults who do not engage in regular physical activity (23.7 percent);

  • 24th in the percentage of adults who are smokers (17.6 percent);

  • 41st in the percentage of adults who have had a heart attack (5.3 percent);

  • 41st in the percentage of adults who have angina or coronary heart disease (5.4 percent);

  • 37th in the percentage of adults who have high blood pressure (34.6 percent);

  • 38th in the percentage of adults who have high cholesterol (40.3 percent); and

  • 38th in the percentage of adults who have had a stroke (3.4 percent).

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