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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Maternal Mortality Rates and their Correlation to Food Deserts


Maternal mortality is defined as the number of deaths related to complications during or after childbirth. Food deserts are defined as regions that have limited access to affordable and healthy food options. This study utilized R to analyze data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service’s Food Access Research Atlas and maternal mortality rates from the UCSF paper “Maternal Morbidity and Outcomes Including Mortality, California 2001-2006.” to search for an association between the two variables. The research atlas maps areas in Northern California with low access to grocery stores, as well as provides information on food access throughout the United States using census tracts. The independent variable in this study is food access and the dependent variable is maternal mortality. After analyzing the data collected using R, correlation graphs were created and intercepts and R values were identified. This information was used to further understand the relationship between food access and maternal mortality. For this study, we focused our scope on the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma, which are located in Northern California.

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