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    The Problem of Eating Healthy Food

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    Bryan Cervantes Professor Barlow English 1302- Nov 7,2017 Food Desert and the Heath of its Citizens Defined by The US Department of Agriculture food deserts are areas in an urban or rural setting “without ready access to fresh, healthy and affordable food”( Wright Pg.171). With the limited availability of a supermarket or grocery store to offer fresh healthy and affordable food, these communities tend to obtain their food trough “fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options”( Wright Pg.171).

    These options include high in fat, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and preservatives that can be detrimental to one’s health. Therefore food deserts are affecting American health due to the lack of fresh, healthy, and affordable food that can lead to the development of chronic diseases and as well promote obesity.

    Even though the United States is a leading producer in fresh produces how is it possible that within its borders there are people that lack the access to nutritional healthy food their food one must ask the question: How exactly do food deserts affect the overall health of an individual? The question was brought up when viewing the 2012 documentary “ A Place at the Table” Produced by Tom Colicchio. In the documentary, it focuses on the aspects of people’s lives affected by hunger in America.

    One of those aspects that Colicchio states are that many Americans are living in food deserts where they are unable to get adequate healthy within walking distance. Threw out the film it’s stated that 23.5 million Americans are living in a food desert with the state of Mississippi having the largest food desert in the nation as well having one of the most obese population. Later in the film, Colicchio stress the dramatic effects a person can have while living a food desert.

    One of the effects is on children on how they are more likely to develop a lifetime affect due to the nutritional deprivation that they face while living in food deserts such as the development of type two diabetes, obesity, the stunt in development and mortar growth. Even though the film focuses on the overarching theme of food insecurity the subcategory of food deserts is often a “ concomitant feature”(Lewis, Felicia Wider Pg2) that creates huge effects that are irreversible to a person’s health as they are unable to obtain the adequate food that they need to consume to stay healthy.

    To understand the effects on health by food desert, the Rhode Island Medical Journal Article “ Food Insecurity and Chronic Disease: Addressing Food Access as a Healthcare Issue” by Dominic Decker reveal the effects of living in a food insecure location. These effects include becoming obese that can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes as well having a higher risk of contracting HIV/ AIDS.

    Decker begins by examining how can a hungry population be obese especially in one was it food insecure, he comes to the conclusion that the “hunger-obesity paradox” is at fault. Where the “prevalence of low- cost, energy dense “convince” foods”(Decker) are in abundance in the food insecure area mainly located in low-income minority neighborhoods. When food is cheap and high in calories they tend to promote overconsumption leading to weight gain over time.

    When one gains an excess amount of weight “comes the risk of developing myriad medical problems”(Decker) that include cardiovascular disease such as hypertension as well as type two diabetes. Even those HIV/AIDS is not related to obesity, the contraction of HIV and AIDS is higher when living in a food desert. A study was done in North Carolina it was revealed that 400 individuals living in a food desert location “have a higher rate of HIV infection regardless of high-risk sexual behavior”(Decker).

    Decker infers the reason why individuals are more likely to get infected is they are “less likely to adhere HIV therapy” when they are food insecure. Another inference that Decker states that medication is “ less effective if they are taken on an empty stomach” (Decker).Keeping this in mind one would think in order to solve this problem is to implement more access to fresh health adequate food and to install a grocery store. However, in the article “Food Deserts: What Is the Problem? What Is the Solution?

    James Wright article details what is a food desert, What the problem is how they started as well make address the counterargument that food desert is not at fault on why the people living the area have bad health but the people them self is to blame. As Wright states, if people living in food desert were given a grocery store “would they start eating healthy?”. As this will not change their consumer behavior as they will continue to buy “ the same artery-clogging junk food as before” (Wright) that would lead to a greater additive for people becoming obese and delving chronic disses.

    As he hypothesized that people that live in food deserts location are not healthy due to being “ undereducated about nutrition, are unable to afford healthy food, their food choccies become custom rather than the result of nutrition” (Wright) If people are to blame how are we going to help them to get into a healthier lifestyle. This ethical question that now we have to pose is who is going to help the people living in food deserts and help them improve their overall health. In America, it has been ingrained in our society that we should be independent and be reluctant to ask for help.

    In Ralph Emerson “Self Reliance” he argues that conforming to society oppresses you from becoming your best self, but the conformity of the people’s eating habits of just consuming junk food, in the long run, they will suffer not only from chronic disease that can lead to death but also the inability to be a productive member in society. As this conformity does not allow them to be their true and best self, as we need to help them and end this cycle of helping in limited amounts and start believing in them as with a healthier member in society they will be more of a valuable source to help create a better nation.

    Threw out the research there is a clearer understanding of the subject on people health in food deserts. As food deserts are to blame in part for the health of the people living in the area as they contribute to the American obesity epidemic due the large availability to “Convince food” that are cheaper and higher in calories, and that can lead to the overconsumption that creates weight gain.

    This weight gain can lead to chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. The other factor why people are so unhealthy in the food desert is due to their consumption habits as they do not know enough on nutrition or they are just unable to afford the healthy options. In the end, we need to help these people as their conformity is not helping them self out the community to be productive nor are we helping the problem by conforming to do little help.

    Worked Cited

    1. A Place at the Table. Dir. Tom Colicchio N.p., 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2018
    2. DECKER, DOMINIC, and MARY FLYNN. “Food Insecurity and Chronic Disease: Addressing Food Access as a Healthcare Issue.” Rhode Island Medical Journal, vol. 101, no. 4, May 2018, pp. 28–30.
    3. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost. com.dcccd a9h&AN=129317 103&site=eho st-live. Emerson, Ralph Waldo.
    4. “From ‘Self-Reliance’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson.” From ‘Self-Reliance’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson N.P. Web. 3 Nov. 2018 Lewis, Felicia Wider, et al.
    5. “Food Deserts and Food Insecurity: A Case Study in Jacksonville, Florida.” Journal of Behavioral & Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, Spring 2018, pp. 41–49.
    6. EBSCOhost,
    7. Wright, James, et al. “Food Deserts: What Is the Problem? What Is the Solution?” Society, vol. 53, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 171–181. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s12115-016-9993-8.

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