Limited access to healthy foods can lead to increased obesity. Areas with little access to healthy and fresh foods are called food deserts, and there are plenty of them in the United States. Often, low-income neighborhoods do not have a variety of healthy, affordable food choices. There may even be a lack of natural food sources altogether. Convenience store food is more expensive and higher in fat and calories, but in food deserts they might be the only place to buy groceries.
Even where food is not scarce, low-income people often purchase cheap, shelf-stable foods because they are dense and keep their families fuller longer. These foods are usually very high in fat and calories, and are not as healthy. High fast food consumption has been associated with higher rates of obesity, and low-income neighborhoods tend to have more fast food restaurants. They provide quick and cheap meals that are filling, but they are also not as healthy.