Reviewing the Effects of Poverty and Food Scarcity on the Prevalence of Type II Diabetes Mellitus in the Metro Atlanta Area

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Sledge, Kyle Emerson
Tone, John
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Type II diabetes is a medical condition that is prominent in both society and medical research. In the metro Atlanta region, over nine percent of the population has contracted the disease. It is not a random disorder but the result of individual factors and local environments. One of the most influential factors is diet, which is directly impacted by what foods are available locally. Healthy food acquisition can be almost impossible in food deserts, or areas of the country that contain either no or extremely limited locations to purchase healthy food. These deserts litter the metropolitan area of Atlanta, and are often intermixed inside more rural or low-income areas. This paper identifies these Atlanta food deserts and analyzes them for a correlation to the prevalence of type II diabetes. The data confirmed my hypothesis that there were correlations between these clearly identifiable sites in greater Atlanta and elevated levels of incidence of type II diabetes. Clayton and DeKalb counties had the largest proportions of their populations inside food deserts at 45.1% and 21.8% respectively, and had increased percentages of their population with type II diabetes: Clayton County surveyed with 10.6% of its population having the disorder, and 8.9% of DeKalb’s inhabitants had acquired the disease at some point. The data suggest that food deserts have adversely affected the health of thousands of people. On the other hand, there are sectors that can be targeted and changed to directly increase the quality of living for over 17% of the metro Atlanta populace that are currently living inside of them.
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