Access to Healthy Foods in Urban Communities

Published: 2018-01-11 15:22:35
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The choices of food to eat depends primarily on its availabilities. Some people who reside in rural areas experience food shortage because they have to travel for long distances to access what they need (Block & Subramanian, 2015). Considering the disparity in income distribution, food shortage occurs because people can't afford a variety due to cost. However, in some places, the food supply is inadequate, thus forcing the population to consume that which they can afford. The differences in income distributions contribute significantly to the nutritional choices (Block & Subramanian, 2015). It is not the inaccessibility of food that entirely causes unhealthy eating style, but also lack of interest to exploit the varieties. Health is important, and people should choose food well to boost their immune systems. Those who are concerned with their dietary ussually avoid health complication such as obesity and disease attacks. Food stregthens the immune systems of the body if the consumers are aware of the nature of the food they should consume. Each country requires a healthy population to continue supplying services to build the economy. It is critical to mind the nature of food that the consumers buy if they must remain healthy and productive. Besides, the priority of all the consumers has to shift from cost of food to the health. Some consumers buy low quality food because they are cheaper. For this reason, access to healthy food is sometimes a personal choice where an individual decides to spend more money in pursuit of healthy food. as a result, the government has established various programs to ensure food security among its citizens. For inatance, through the USAID, the effors of the government are an expression of the compassion together with goodwill of the citizens. Some of its responsibilities include monitoring food security all over the world, saving lives during crisis periods and dealing with the acute underbutrition. 

Introduction

Food is a basic need, and human beings require quality food for survival. Access to healthy food is the topic of concern to many stakeholders; the increase in cases of diet-related complication is the sources of the increasing concerns about the issue of healthy food. Caspi, Kawachi, Subramanian, Adamkiewicz & Sorensen, (2012) carried out 300 types of research to find out the value of access to healthy food. The outcomes of their results show the low-income communities and the people of color were exposed to many diet-related complications. In regions where low-income earners and the people of color inhabit, few groceries exist, meaning the food supply in the areas is low and food variety is small. The disparity in the food distributions in the region causes high consumptions of the available food, which reduces supply of healthy diet hence, compromising the health of the population (Caspi, Kawachi, Subramanian, Adamkiewicz & Sorensen, 2012). The access to healthy food has an economic benefit to the affected community. For example, healthy eating is directly proportional to the body strength. For this reason, the population that values healthy living is economically productive and less susceptible to dietary diseases that affect the productivity of the people. Some scholars confirm the facts that it is not only the shortage in the supply of food that causes poor choices, but also the ignorance of the consumers. Some consumers do not attach a lot of importance to the food they consume. As a result, they eat the food they can access hence resulting in helth problems. 

In the United States, there is an evidence of unequal access to healthy food in different regions. One indicator for the food inaccessibility is the prevalence of cases of obesities and other diet-related complications. Both the urban and the rural population suffer health problems because of the consumptions of unhealthy food. Research confirms that pressure in workplaces reduce the time for people to choose the food they need (Dubowitz, Zenk, Ghosh-Dastidar, Cohen, Beckman, Hunter, Collins, 2015). Notably, most consumers in urban areas eat junk foods because it is easy to cook and catch up with the limited time they are needed in the workplaces. There is evidence of disparities in food distribution in the United States that reduce the variety of food to make choices. According to Dubowitz, Zenk, Ghosh-Dastidar, Cohen, Beckman, Hunter, Collins, (2015), the residential areas of the people of color and the low-income earners have few groceries. The limited number of food groceries is an indication of the shortages in food supply. The shortages in the food variety forces the consumers to eat what is available, hence the consumptions of unhealthy food. Further research shows that urban communities do not choose their food wisely despite their availability.

In the urban settings, the food is available in plenty yet consumers are not attentive to the value of the food variety. The nature of the arrangement of food in the supermarket is of help to the urban consumers. Often, a variety of food is displayed clearly to allow the customers to choose what they want. The fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets go for relatively lower prices, which is affordable to most consumers. In some parts of rural areas where food is available in plenty, cases of obesity and malnourishment are few (Dubowitz, Zenk, Ghosh-Dastidar, Cohen, Beckman, Hunter, Collins, 2015).  Notably, the knowledge regarding the importance of consuming healthy food is necessary if the populations remain healthy and look for quality food.

History

The issues of access to healthy food have been around since ancient times. The study of the genesis of the matter is imperative in the research because it attempts to find out how the issue of access to healthy food started. This study seeks to offer detailed information regarding the history of healthy foods access in urban communities and challenges that persist. This section also exemplifies the nutritional value of food products and the disparities that existed in the US. 

To begin with, a big difference in the nutritional value of foodstuffs in the United States exists. One of the main reasons why these disparities exist is that few stores sell quality food in the country. Though the government has given loans to the businesspersons to support the distributions of food, the disparity in food distribution is still evident (Harris, Lott, Lakins, Bowden & Kimmons, 2012). The incentives from the government in food distribution are an attempt to compensate the historical injustices. This was in a bid to help resident that live people living rural areas. The first place that these changes were put in place was Pennsylvania back in the year 2004. Many funds have been allocated to help stimulate the growth of the food sector in the region. 

However, the government’s support to end the disparity in food distribution has not helped much because there are still major differences in the availability of food. Nutritional indexes obtained from different households reveal that significant differences are dependent on the level of education of the consumers and the income level (Hilmers, A., Hilmers, D. C., & Dave, J. (2012). Families residing in places affected by poverty and low education levels purchase foods that have an imbalance in the nutritional value compared to places where people have high income and have gone through school systems. In a nutshell, these data suggests that households in the higher end of life buy foods that have the right nutritional requirements that have been recommended by the USDA. However, people from the opposite side of life do not follow these recommendations. Additionally, the quality of food that the high-income populations buy is of higher quality as compared to the low-income earners.

Historically, nutritional value also varied according to the social, economic status of the people in society. Retailers sold different types of food that had a diversity of nutritional value depending on the purchasing power of the residents. Wealthier places have high access to food compared to other disadvantaged locations (Hilmers, Hilmers & Dave, 2012). Food stores were only found in the rich regions, which were predominantly dominated by the whites. This implies that the other poor were mostly the blacks who were segregated.

Different researchers have carried out research across the United States. They used various techniques trying to uncover the health state of nutritional products stocked by different retailers around the different countries. Using the geo-coded information provided by over 200,000 retailers all around the States of America, they were able to discover that there are immense concentration disparities of neighborhood stores, which vary in economic profiles. In Nielsen state, they made use of weekly sales stock-level data trying to identify the list of products which were available at the majority of the participating retailers between the year 2006 and year 2011 (Hilmers, Hilmers & Dave, 2012). They also used the household-level analysis, in trying to evaluate the level of health state indices that showed the nutritional quality of the food products that were on shelves then. The analysis of nutritional indices exhibited that there was a varying difference in the healthy state of food commodities purchased in various neighborhoods with varying education and earning levels. These products depicted a small difference from different areas.

They also used local access to the account for consumption disparities. They diagnosed the significant differences in healthful purchases between the households living in the same location with retail stores and those which are distantly located. However, the process of analyzing the contributory role paled by access in trying to come up with disparities in product purchases is not easy. This is because retailers are concerned with satisfying local tastes of households who are grouped into neighborhoods having a differing level of access. Demand at times overcomes access barrier since those located far can put a deliberate effort in trying to access the fresh products and thus further research should be done to give a full explanation of the current difference of access nutritious food products. 

There are always variations rising in the local market concerning food products sold to different households. This change depends on the taste level of the various neighborhoods according to social and economic class: that is if the taste for nutritionally health food products is high in high-class neighborhoods, then high more fresh products will be sold to the high economic class neighborhood of the community compared to a poor neighborhood.

 

sheldon

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