Foodis vital in our lives and when it is plenty, easily accessible andfreely shared, it can lead to healthy societies, but when it isunfairly distributed, it can result in some serious health issues.People living in food deserts are those that cannot assess healthyfoods such as groceries from supermarkets easily.
Therefore,when some communities can access fast foods easily than fresh ones,they are at risk of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes as suchenvironmental conditions encourage unhealthy eating lifestyle(Barker, Francois, & New York Law School, 2012). Studies havefound out that minority groups such as African-Americans and Latinoswith low income are less likely to access healthy foods due to lackof supermarkets in their neighborhoods compared to whites living inChicago (Barker et al., 2012).
Thus,most of these communities spend their income to purchase fast foodswith high contents of sodium, sugar, and fat, which are detrimentalto their health. This translates to poor nutrition, which leaveslow-income minorities vulnerable to chronic illness likehypertension, obesity, diabetics and heart diseases (Barker et al.,2012). For instance, in Chicago, people living in Westside andSouthside are less likely to have a grocery within a walking distancecompared to other areas (Barker et al., 2012).
Thus,people living in these areas tend to have high body mass index thanthose living in white predominant residential areas, as it is easy toaccess fast foods (Barker et al., 2012). These disparities can beblamed on government policies. Since the dismissal of the Corriganv. Buckleycourt case that challenged the enforcement of racial covenants,African American communities have been discriminated eitherintentionally or unintentionally through the development ofinsufficient grocery stores (Barker et al., 2012).
Economically,the whites had power, and they established many stores in their areascompared to African American communities. Also, the federalgovernment encouraged the development of supermarkets and grocerystores in the suburbs by subsidizing the development of supermarketsand chain stores in those areas through the provision of loans tobusiness people (Barker et al., 2012).
Asa result of such disparity in accessing healthy foods, Hispanic andAfrican Americans suffer from high rates of obesity which isrelatively higher than the whites (Barker et al., 2012). Furthermore,obesity has been linked to type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesteroland hypertension (Barker et al., 2012). Thus, there is a highcorrelation between access to food and health.
Barker, C.,Francois, A., & New York Law School. (2012). Unsharedbounty: How structural racism contributes to the creation andpersistence of food deserts. Retrieved fromhttp://www.racialjusticeproject.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2012/06/NYLS-Food-Deserts-Report.pdf