Food / Nutrition

Community Development Can Improve Resident Health

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The Pittsburgh Hill/Homewood Research on Neighborhoods and Health (PHRESH) project is a unique study following residents and their changing environments in two similar, predominantly African-American, low-income neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. RAND researchers have examined how investments and neighborhood changes—a Healthy Food Financing Initiative-supported supermarket, mixed-income housing developments, and greenspace and park renovations—influence a range of health and economic outcomes. Here is what the study has found so far:

Opening a new full-service supermarket improved residents’ diets and neighborhood satisfaction. In the Hill District neighborhood, once considered a “food desert”—where healthy food options were limited—a new supermarket opened. Homewood is a similar neighborhood a few miles away that continues to be a food desert. The research team followed randomly selected households in both neighborhoods to measure changes in diet and food shopping over time.


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