Evaluating the Effects of Food Deserts and Food Swamps in an Urban Burn Patient Population

Brienne Donovan, Daniel Wiese, Kevin A Henry, Jingwei Wu, Lisa Rae, Jeffrey Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Poverty is a known risk factor for burn injury and is associated with residency in food deserts and food swamps. Our aim was to determine the prevalence of residency in food deserts and food swamps and to investigate the relationship between food environment, comorbidities, and wound healing in burn patients. We performed a retrospective chart review of all burn patients age ≥ 18 seen in the emergency department or admitted to the burn service at an ABA-verified urban academic center between January 2016 and January 2022. Patient GeoIDs were used to classify residency in food deserts and food swamps and comorbidities and demographics were recorded. A subset of patients with less than 20% total body surface area burns who underwent single-operation split-thickness skin grafting was identified for wound healing analysis. A total of 3,063 patients were included, with 206 in the heal-time analysis. 2,490 (81.3%) lived in food swamps and 96 (3.1%) lived in food deserts. Diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco smoking were more prevalent in food swamps than food deserts or good access areas. While there was no significant effect of food environment on wound healing, diabetes was associated with longer heal times. Most burn patients reside in food swamps, which are associated with a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and smoking. Food environment was not significantly associated with wound healing. Not having diabetes was associated with a shorter time to wound healing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
StateE-pub ahead of print - Mar 17 2024


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