Food Desert

While Allan made a good point I was mostly interested in the point Sarah Kliff’s article made. Sure you put a grocery store inside of a low-income neighborhood but does it really change the eating habits of the neighborhood? Personally I wouldn’t go so far as to say that food deserts do not exist at all but I do think that just because there is a grocery store in a low-income neighborhood does not mean everyone will suddenly change their eating habits or be able to offer the healthy options they might offer. Notice the word “might” because while the store will sell healthier options (that unfortunately are usually higher in price) if there isn’t enough demand or stock stays on the shelf for long periods of time then a store will end up eliminating options that have no demand behind them in order to cut costs and save money. This means that even if they start out with a lot of healthier options eventually the store will just sell what they know they can make a profit on. So how do we change what people prefer? Quite honestly we can’t and there’s no way to force someone to eat healthier, in the end it is their body and their life. Which means I think to solve the problem of malnourishment Allan mentions it’s going to take a lot more than putting a few grocery stores in some low-income areas. It’s going to take a mixture of education, lowering prices, and time.

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One Response to Food Desert

  1. Joycemichelle, I think you are right, we cannot force people to prefer healthier foods, but what if we conditioned them to prefer those foods at a young age? Statistics have shown that children who are overweight or obese when they are in their preteen and teenage years are much more likely to be overweight when they become adults. Why is this? I believe that it is because the eating habits that they have created in their youth are poor. Because of this, I also agree with your statement that education needs to be given to people about the benefits and necessity of eating better foods in order to live a healthier life. If children are exposed to healthy eating options and are raised with a positive perspective on eating healthy foods, they will be less likely to be inclined to prefer junk foods as they grow older. But the root cause in this strategy, as you addressed, is that the availability of healthy food options is not only slim, but more expensive, putting the poor at a disadvantage. I believe that in order to promote healthy eating habits, healthier food options should be more accessible and reasonably priced for everyone. For example, ,simply by looking at the Weekly ad for Schnucks on Lindell,
    (http://schnucks.shoptocook.com/circular/index.jsp?pageID=62108#thumbnails),
    it is obvious that the foods that are on sale are the foods that will simply gain the store a profit (such as the Oreos, frozen meals, and ice cream) rather than promoting the healthy food choices which are present in at most a half of one page in the three page pamphlet.
    Therefore, the crucial question becomes how do we support grocery stores, so that they can advocate healthy eating through changing their pricing patterns without it becoming a financial burden for them? Is this possible?
    I believe that it would truly make a positive impact to alter the pricing patterns in grocery stores and increase education in parenting and with the youths themselves to establish the importance of eating habits. I believe that both of these steps would be a positive movement to eliminating food deserts, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyles, especially among the poor.

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