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Invited Commentary
October 2014

The Growing Socioeconomic Disparity in Dietary Quality: Mind the Gap

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Clinical Study and Informatics, Center for Clinical Sciences, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2Department of Public Health/Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • 3Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles
  • 4Department of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(10):1595-1596. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.3048

Disparity in dietary quality is a public health concern in the United States. Excess caloric intake induces obesity and diabetes mellitus, which in turn cause cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, poorer dietary quality has been shown to affect health outcomes, whether directly or via intermediate chronic conditions such as hypertension and dyslipidemia. The link between lower socioeconomic status (SES) and unhealthful diet is multifactorial. People of lower SES tend to have less access to healthful food; “food deserts” denote areas where residents may have difficulty getting nutritious food, mostly in poorer communities.1 Higher prices keep poorer people from buying more healthful food. Lower-SES individuals also may have limited knowledge about the effect of an unhealthful diet on their health.

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