The team scoured the Bronx looking for mobile food stalls during the summer and fall of 2010, querying the vendors about what they sold, then assessing the health value of the items. “Only 10% of vendors selling prepared food sold any produce,” Dr. Lucan reported in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in Orlando.
In addition, low-fat milk and whole grains were “essentially absent” among the 372 food vendors surveyed, he said. Items high in fat, calories, salt, and/or added sugar were plentiful while fruits and vegetables were limited. Of the 28% of vendors offering any fruit or vegetable, one offered a single whole grain item, while all offered multiple prepared and processed foods. The investigators concluded that the overall contribution of street food vendors “may be unhealthy and obesigenic on balance.” Go figure.
A more enlightening study might consider whether consumers would bite if more healthful street food options were available.