Food Deserts: Maxim or Mirage?

APA California Chapter, Los Angeles Section


Tuesday, August 20, 2013
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. PDT

Los Angeles, CA, United States

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Do "food deserts" actually exist? Is there a connection between areas lacking ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food and negative health outcomes? The prevalence of so-called food deserts - the USDA estimates that 23.5 million people live in such areas - and their suggested link to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have driven public policy, land use decisions, and grant-giving initiatives throughout the country, and quite prominently here in Los Angeles. However, recent research has called into question the connection between fresh food access and obesity rates, and the very existence of food deserts themselves. A panel of experts including Dr. Paul Simon, Director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Roland Sturm, Senior Economist at RAND, and Lark Galloway-Gilliam, Executive Director of Community Health Councils, will discuss L.A.’s diet-related health challenges, the latest research on food deserts, and the tools that planners and public health professionals are using to improve diets and health outcomes in the region’s lower-income communities.

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Roland Sturm

Confirmed Speaker

Roland Sturm (Ph.D., Economics, Stanford University, 1991) is a Senior Economist at RAND and Professor of Policy Analysis at the Pardee Graduate School. He is the author of 150 scientific publications and has regularly testified on health and health care policy in Congress and state legislatures. Previous projects have ... Read More

Lark Galloway-Gilliam

Confirmed Speaker

Lark Galloway-Gilliam is the Executive Director of Community Health Councils, a consumer-oriented health promotion and advocacy organization that focuses on increasing access to quality healthcare and improving the health of under-resourced communities. Ms. Galloway-Gilliam has played an active role in the policy debate around expansion of healthcare coverage for children ... Read More

Paul Simon

Confirmed Speaker

Dr. Paul Simon is the Director of the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH) and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health. Dr. Simon received his MD from the University ... Read More