Landlord Bill Worries Domestic Abuse Community, Food Swamps, News

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

The release of a new landlord-tenant bill in the state legislature has advocates for domestic violence victims concerned. We talk with a reporter about the details. We also look at how food swamps are becoming the new food deserts and a top news story.

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  • Landlord-Tenant Bill Worries Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates

    A new landlord-tenant bill moving its way through the state legislature has advocates for domestic abuse victims concerned. Under the proposal, the number of days courts can protect domestic abuse victims from eviction would be limited. A policy coordinator from End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin shares his perspective.

  • Food Swamps, Not Food Deserts, May Be To Blame For Obesity Rates

    When it comes to obesity, many studies focus on food deserts — that is, low-income areas where more than one-third of the population lives over 1 mile away from a grocery store.

    But as Olga Khazan reports for The Atlantic, new research suggests food deserts may not be the culprit.

    Instead, it finds food swamps — areas with a high density of fast food and junk food — are a likelier cause.

    “Let’s say you do have food choices, you do have food options in your neighborhood, but they’re all really bad for you,” Khazan told WPR’s “Central Time.” “It’s all kind of fast food places or the corner store where you can buy chips and soda.”

    A study published in November in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health counted up all the fast food restaurants and convenience stores in an area. It compared those numbers to the number of grocery stores and supermarkets in an area.

    The results “suggest that the presence of a food swamp is a stronger predictor of obesity rates than the absence of full-service grocery stores,” its researchers write. They note the results were stronger in low-income areas with less access to transportation.

    “Some of the reasons why the food desert research didn’t show an impact on obesity is because sometimes you can just hop in your car and, say, drive 20 minutes,” Khazan said. “It’s not always convenient, but you can get to the supermarket and load up your car for the week. If you don’t have a car, if you can’t really make those big shopping trips and get everything you need, then you are reliant on the convenience store around the corner which is not gonna have lettuce and tomatoes, it’s gonna have chips and soda.”

    With the study results in mind, change could be hard to come by, Khazan said. You can’t exactly force a business to close.

    Some cities have tried to do this through zoning regulations. In 2008, Los Angeles banned new fast food restaurants in a low-income part of the city. But it did not decrease obesity rates.

    So instead, Khazan said, other cities are looking at changing the kinds of food in these convenience stores and fast food restaurants. Initiatives like D.C. Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C. which delivers fresh produce to corner stores, is one example.

    Other cities, like Philadelphia, are taxing or considering taxing soda, hoping the high prices will deter people from buying it.

    These kind of changes are slow-moving on a national scale, Khazan said. But it represents a change in the way we think about obesity and health.

    “The obesity epidemic is now so widespread, and it has grown so rapidly that I think we have to start looking at our built environment,” she said. “And our food environment that could be contributing to it.”

  • Food Swamps Are The New Food Deserts

    Many health experts have long since linked higher rates of obesity in urban and rural populations with lack of easy access to healthy foods, creating the term “food desert”. We look at new research that brings to light the flip side of the issue–there could be an overwhelming amount of unhealthy options.

  • President Trump Touts Federal Initiatives To Boost Rural Economies

    In a speech to the American Farm Bureau, President Trump touted his tax plan as being a boon to rural America and signed signed two bills aimed at providing high-speed broadband to these communities. But, internet access isn’t the only issue hindering rural communities. Our guest, Tessa Conroy of University of Wisconsin-Extension, joins us to talk about the policies that impact rural communities.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Breann Schossow Producer
  • Chase Tarrier Guest
  • Olga Khazan Guest
  • Tessa Conroy Guest

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