Fatal heart conditions plague poor people more than anyone else even if they have access to nutritious foods, a study has revealed.
The new report, from Emory University School of Medicine, found that people who live in low-income communities are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease whether or not they live in a food desert.
But it also found that people with high incomes living in low-income areas are not as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as their neighbors.
Researchers have concluded income - not access to nutritious foods - contributes to a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, bringing into question the effectiveness of fresh food markets in impoverished communities.
And experts are urging doctors to remember that a low-income person's risk of heart trouble is greater even if they maintain a healthy diet.
A new study from Emory University School of Medicine has found that even if a low-income person has access to healthy food, they still have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (file photo)
Emory University researchers analyzed data from 1,421 subjects for the study. The average age of the participants was a little over 49 years old, and 38.5 percent of them were male. Additionally, 36.6 percent were black.
The participants were checked for early signs of cardiovascular disease, including inflammation and stiffness of the arteries.
The study's researchers found that people living in food deserts smoked more, had high blood pressure more often and had higher BMIs.
Additionally, their arteries were stiffer than those of people living outside of food deserts.
The USDA has said that 'food deserts' are defined as areas where residents generally do not have access to healthy food or high incomes.
Low access to healthy food is defined differently for people in rural and urban areas. In sparsely populated places, this means that a significant number of people do not live within 10 miles of a supermarket, supercenter or large grocery store.
In urban areas, 'low access' means people live more than a mile away from any of