Essay Example on Environmental Health Food Desert Definition

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Environmental Health Food Desert Definition. Food desert are found in areas that lack access to affordable vegetables low fat milk fruits whole grains and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet Many Americans living in minority low income or rural areas are subjected to food deserts and may be unable to access healthy affordable foods leaving their diets lacking essential nutrients CDC 2017 Food desert is a low income census tract where a substantial number of residents who have low access to a large grocery store Low income tracts is where at least 20 percent of the population have an income below the federal poverty levels for a family size Tracts qualify as a low access tract if at least 33 percent of the population live more than a mile from a large grocery store For rural census tracts the distance is more than 10 miles USDA 2017 Food Deserts Existence Discussion The reasons why food desert exist is because the minority low income and rural areas are often the sites where food deserts exist They have a higher number of convenience stores and lack large retail food markets where healthy foods are less more likely to be available Americans have limited access to affordable nutritious food because they do not live near a large grocery store or supermarket The only common theme among food desert definition is that there is limited access CDC 2017 Food Deserts Health Implications The health implications of food deserts are excessive exposure to limited access to healthier options and unhealthy food sources which may explain the reason why high prevalence of obesity have been observed in many communities Such associations have been described not only in the United Kingdom but also in America Sweden Canada the Netherlands and Australia where people residing in a deprived or low income area are independently associated with poor quality diets and prevalence to obesity Hilmers et al 2012 Food Access Environmental Justice Issue

The principle of environmental justice charges government and society with the responsibility to provide equal access to health food options for all citizens Neighborhoods where economically minority and disadvantaged populations reside were more likely to have abundant sources of foods that promote unhealthy eating Limited access to grocery stores and supermarkets in low income neighborhoods may represent a significant barrier to the consumption of healthy foods Hilmers et al 2012 Food Access Environmental Health Issue Food desert is an environment health issue because environment justice movement has expanded their concerns beyond unequal distribution of environmental hazards to issues of public health such as obesity Ethnic or racial minority and low income populations have substantial environmental challenges to maintain a healthy body weight and to overcome to make healthy dietary choices The disproportionate distribution of food sources that contributes to the development of unhealthy behaviors among these communities and the consequent disease burden deeply affect not only the society but also families and individuals Hilmers et al 2012 Environmental Health Issue Alleviation Suggestions The potential solutions to food deserts is by firstly through community outreach Community acceptance is important to the success of any farmers markets Instilling a buy in and ownership is also important with supermarkets Joint ventures can be very helpful such as if a nonprofit New Community Corporation partners with a Pathmark in Newark New Jersey Those that pay close attention to community needs finds out that it does pays off NCBI 2009 Secondly is by having supermarket incentives Incentives at the local and state levels are especially important such as helping to assemble job assistance training and real estate Stores are only as good as their employees and preventing turnover which can be more than 100 percent per year in some inner city stores is a huge task Also having transportation for the employees and shoppers can help NCBI 2009

Lastly is having a farmer s market Successful markets take about a year to get organized including a process of amassing community support The cost of setting up a farmer s market can vary The Food Trust operates a network of markets which helps consolidate the workload Recent experience has shown there are plenty including many younger farmers under the age of 30 is an encouraging sign for the future of farming NCBI 2009 References CDC 2017 September 15 Getaway to health communication social marketing practice Food desert https www cdc gov health communication tools templates entertainmented tips FoodDesert html Hilmers A Hilmers D C Dave J 2012 September Neighborhood disparities in access to healthy foods and their effects on environmental justice American Journal of Public Health 102 9 1644 1654 Retrieved from https www ncbi nlm nih gov pmc articles PMC3482049 NCBI 2009 The public health effects of food deserts Workshop summary Retrieved from https www ncbi nlm nih gov books NBK208016 NCBI 2009 The public health effects of food deserts Workshop summary Retrieved from https www ncbi nlm nih gov books NBK208027 USDA 2017 June 2 Food desert locator Retrieved from https www fns usda gov tags food desert locator



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