Food Deserts- The link between income and access Essay

1000 Words 4 Pages
Food Insecurity and food accessibility are major problems not only in rural areas but also low-income urban areas throughout the United States. The term “food desert” or an area with limited or no access to healthy, affordable and nutritious food was coined during a U.K. Study into food accessibility for those in the lowest income neighborhoods which contained no major grocery store and had the lowest rate of car ownership. This problem has come across the pond and we've seen many major grocery retailers flee from cities and move to the more profitable suburbs, what's worse is as grocery stores consolidate they leave many neighborhoods under served by convenience stores or fast food outlets. The prevalence of more processed, unhealthy …show more content…
One significant effect of lack of supermarket access is its negative impact on diet.” If a significant portion of the people on public assistance cannot afford to eat healthfully and furthermore do not have the ability or the nutritional education necessary to live a healthy lifestyle this has immediate effects on the growing epidemics of obesity, heart disease and other lifestyle related illnesses and on the health system that is already at capacity.

Three key elements are described in Sparks piece: proximity, variety and competition.“Proximity is important because research shows low-income people are less likely to own an automobile. Variety is important because research into retail choice suggests people value variety and do not always shop at the supermarket that is closest to home (Handy,1996). Finally, competition is an accepted price control mechanism, which is important when evaluating access for low-income populations.” (Sparks). These are described as the most important factors because they will play biggest role in where a person chooses to shop for food given the choice.
Not all the experts agree however that the prevalence of fast food and the limited access of fresh food is the driving factor in the rise of obesity. A study conducted by the RAND corporation a non-profit federally funded research center recently released a study that found that “among adults the neighborhood food environment had little or no relation to the adult subjects

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