Food Desert Essay

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Food deserts are becoming a growing issue not unique to the United States. In 2010, it was estimated that 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, lived in an urban or rural food desert (Let’s Move, 2015). A food desert can be defined as a geographical area where communities lack access to healthy, inexpensive food options. The limited access to an affordable healthy diet presents a major challenge to residents living in food deserts. Instead of people’s main source of food being from a supermarket, communities will rely on eating at restaurants, fast food chains and convenience stores as their main sources of nutrition. The phenomenon is more prevalent in low-income, racial and ethnic minority neighborhoods, as it were reported …show more content…

The overconsumption of foods with high levels of sugar, oils, fats and calories has contributed to the rise of obesity in America, and food deserts are to blame as a contributing factor to the epidemic. A UCLA study found that “people who live near an abundance of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores compared to grocery stores and produce vendors have a significantly higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes” (Designed for disease, 2008). In 2013, it was reported that 67% of the US population is overweight or obese (Budzynska et-al, 2012). Overweight and obesity are major public health problems because having a high percentage of body fat will raise an individual’s risk of diabetes, stroke, arthritis, heart disease and some cancers (Let’s Move). In California, adults living in food deserts had a 20 percent higher prevalence of obesity and a 23 percent higher prevalence of diabetes (Designed for Disease). Thus their needs to be policies and programs emplaced to rectify the growing number of foods deserts because it is increasing the rates obesity in America’s population and children. For instance, Michelle Obama has started the Lets move! campaign to bring public attention and create programs to improve children’s nutrition across the nation. It is understood that if the obesity epidemic is not addressed now, America will have to fund numerous obesity and …show more content…

However, there have been projects on the community level to find a solution to the national scale epidemic. The entrepreneur, Doug Rauch, launched an expired food market in the low-income community of Dorchester Massachusetts called, The Daily table. The market is a not-for-profit retail store that offers a variety of healthy, convenient and affordable foods. It makes nutrition affordable by collecting food past the “sell by” date that is still good food, then selling it at half price or less (Jacobs, 2013). In addition, the store offers nutritious pre-made meals and healthy cooking classes that market to low-income customers to counter the American tendency toward low-cost, unhealthy meals that in turn, has lead to the current obesity and diabetes epidemic (Jacobs). The Daily Table is a one of many great community solutions to the demographic barriers that prevent access to a healthy affordable diet for many low-income individuals and families.
In conclusion, there isn’t a singular answer to solving the issue of food deserts in America. Solutions must focus on all the factors that interplay with the increase of food deserts across the nation, such as age, wealth, transportation, socialization, access to health, poverty etc, if there is to ever be an elimination of food deserts. However, as legislators aim to reform America’s health care system and reduce costs, it would be

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