The Food Environment of Immigrant Enclaves in Los Angeles County
Tabashir Z. Nobari, University of California, Los Angeles
Evelyn Blumenberg, University of California, Los Angeles
M. Pia Chaparro, University of California, Los Angeles
Edmund Seto, University of California, Berkeley
May-Choo Wang, University of California, Los Angeles
Immigrant enclaves may influence health by providing access to healthier traditional foods, or unhealthy processed and fast foods, resembling the food store environment of deprived neighborhoods. We used a commercial establishment dataset and the American Community Survey to characterize the food store environment of immigrant enclaves in Los Angeles County. We defined immigrant enclaves as census tracts in which 10% or more of the residents emigrated from China, Guatemala, El Salvador, Iran, Korea or the Philippines; or 35% or more of the residents emigrated from Mexico. Using zero-inflated negative binomial regression and controlling for neighborhood SES, immigrant enclaves were associated with 28% more healthy stores and 7% fewer unhealthy stores than non-immigrant enclaves. These associations varied by immigrant country of origin. Immigrant enclaves’ healthier food store environment may help immigrants maintain traditional diets and prevent the erosion of health that can occur with increased time spent in the U.S.