Food deserts in Korea? A GIS analysis of food consumption patterns at sub-district level in Seoul using the KNHANES 2008-2012 data.
Sommaire de l'article
The concept of "food deserts" has been widely used in Western countries as a framework to identify areas with constrained access to fresh and nutritious foods, providing guidelines for targeted nutrition and public health programs. Unlike the vast amount of literature on food deserts in a Western context, only a few studies have addressed the concept in an East Asian context, and none of them have investigated spatial patterns of unhealthy food consumption from a South Korean perspective.
We first evaluated the applicability of food deserts in a Korean setting and identified four Korean-specific unhealthy food consumption indicators, including insufficient food consumption due to financial difficulty, limited consumption of fruits and vegetables, excessive consumption of junk food, and excessive consumption of instant noodles. The KNHANES 2008-2012 data in Seoul were analyzed with stratified sampling weights to understand the trends and basic characteristics of these eating patterns in each category. GIS analyses were then conducted for the data spatially aggregated at the sub-district level in order to create maps identifying areas of concern regarding each of these indicators and their combinations.
Despite significant reduction in the rate of food insufficiency due to financial difficulty, the rates of excessive consumption of unhealthy foods (junk food and instant noodles) as well as limited consumption of fruits and vegetables have increased or remained high. These patterns tend to be found among relatively younger and more educated groups, regardless of income status.
A GIS-based analysis demonstrated several hotspots as potential "food deserts" tailored to the Korean context based on the observed spatial patterns of undesirable food consumption. These findings could be used as a guide to prioritize areas for targeted intervention programs to facilitate healthy food consumption behaviors and thus improve nutrition and food-related health outcomes.