Title

Examining the Relationship Between Farmers' Markets and Obesity Rates in Washington State

Presenter Information

Taylor Steele

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 201

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

There is a growing awareness that America's obesity issue is linked to poor eating habits. Healthy food options may be inaccessible to large segments of the population, especially for those with reduced mobility including the poor and elderly. Farmers' markets are one way to alleviate these accessibility problems by providing healthy, locally sourced foodstuffs. In Washington State there is legislation (Substitute House Bill 2402 and the Senate Farm Bill) promoting farmers’ markets as a healthy food source. Using geographic information systems (GIS), this study evaluates the spatial relationship between local obesity rates and consumer proximity to farmers’ markets. Results show that there are lower rates of obesity in counties that have greater access to farmers’ markets, suggesting that farmers’ markets are providing a healthy food option to local consumers. These findings may help spur further legislation and incentives promoting farmers’ markets in Washington State and beyond.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mathew Novak

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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Examining the Relationship Between Farmers' Markets and Obesity Rates in Washington State

SURC 201

There is a growing awareness that America's obesity issue is linked to poor eating habits. Healthy food options may be inaccessible to large segments of the population, especially for those with reduced mobility including the poor and elderly. Farmers' markets are one way to alleviate these accessibility problems by providing healthy, locally sourced foodstuffs. In Washington State there is legislation (Substitute House Bill 2402 and the Senate Farm Bill) promoting farmers’ markets as a healthy food source. Using geographic information systems (GIS), this study evaluates the spatial relationship between local obesity rates and consumer proximity to farmers’ markets. Results show that there are lower rates of obesity in counties that have greater access to farmers’ markets, suggesting that farmers’ markets are providing a healthy food option to local consumers. These findings may help spur further legislation and incentives promoting farmers’ markets in Washington State and beyond.