Food swamps have four unhealthy options for each healthy one, and they’re a strong predictor of obesity rates.


I am shocked — shocked — to learn that fast food is an unhealthy option, and if I hadn’t read this book a full 16 years ago, I’d be even more scandalized.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
(2001) is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry.

First serialized by Rolling Stone in 1999, the book has drawn comparisons to Upton Sinclair’s classic muckraking novel The Jungle (1906).

It’s another swamp in need of draining, but at the same time, just about every day I’ll read the social media comments of a local citizen demanding that he or she be given more chain restaurants and expanded fast food options — or else we turn out the thieving bastards in charge.

In reality, most of these comments emanate from non-voters, and it’s necessary to understanding that in an exploitation-driven economic system, the affordability of sustenance is key, whether or not it kills you in the end.

Rest assured, Jeff Gahan is working assiduously to provide more of these chains, especially up on the multinational strip mine known as Summit Springs.

It is my belief that these demands for uniformity reveal deeper sociological and psychological trends, although it’s a topic for another day.

Food Swamps Are the New Food Deserts, by Olga Khazan (The Atlantic)

It’s not just a lack of grocery stores that’s making us fat. It’s an overabundance of fast food.

The term “food desert” conjures the image of a forlorn citizen, wandering through a barren landscape for miles and miles (or, by definition, for more than a mile) to reach the nearest fresh-food market. Populating food deserts with grocery stores is a favored cause among nutrition advocates, but the concept became controversial after some recent studies found the distance to the nearest grocery store doesn’t correlate with a region’s obesity rate.

(Because it’s nutrition, other studies have shown the opposite. Either way, most people would agree it’s nice to be able to buy produce with relative ease, even if doing so doesn’t make you fit into your high-school jeans again.)

Now, new research suggests food deserts might not be the culprit—or at least not the only one—for the high prevalence of obesity in certain areas. Instead, food swamps might be to blame.

In addition to being low on grocery stores, food swamps are also crammed with unhealthy food options like corner stores and fast-food places …