East New York has one of the highest concentration of fast-food restaurants in the city, causing serious health implications for its residents.
Fast-food chains in New York City are most prevalent in the low-income outskirts of Brooklyn, according to City Limits. With more than 40 fast-food chains located in East New York, particularly concentrated at the intersection of Linden Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue, the neighborhood is NYC ’s biggest “food swamp,” an area where unhealthy food, like high-calorie fast food and junk food, is more readily available than healthy food.
Fast-food chains have grown 14 percent over the last decade in New York City. The largest increase took place in Brooklyn, and according to the Center for Urban Future that trend is likely to continue. East New York is home to seven Crown Fried Chickens, four McDonald’s and three Subways, joined by Burger King, Wendy’s, Popeyes and White Castle. The readily available fast food may be hard to resist and causes serious concern for the residents’ health.
Food swamps typically exist in food deserts, which are neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores and healthy food options. Previously, scientists focused on food deserts as a cause for severe health risks like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure in underserved communities. However, a recent study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows that the existence of food swamps could predict more accurately obesity rates than the existence of food deserts.
The study revealed that the obesity rate is higher in areas with four or more unhealthy retailers for every one healthy option, findings that match East New York where 31 percent of residents are obese, according to the NYC Health Department. The most recent community health survey showed that East New York has the highest diabetes rate in New York City at 18 percent.