Sometimes we take for granted the basics in life, such as food. I find myself doing that a lot. I’m an athlete and I’m training for a goal in which nutrition plays a key part.
Some days I go to bed contemplating how I could have eaten so much food. I feel disgusted with myself for not being able to ration and stick to my macro count or I wonder how could I let myself eat that one cookie full of sugar.
Some people go to bed at night starving, or having eaten only fast food and junk. Most people have seen the documentary, Supersize Me, and if you haven’t please take a look at what a daily diet of fast food does to a person’s body. Taking food for granted is an easy mistake, not only in relation to malnutrition around the world, but in our own neighborhoods.
Obesity is prevalent among the less educated and in neighborhoods with high poverty rates. More than 1/3 of adults who make less than $15,000 a year are obese. In the case of people in the U.S., the most obese people are usually the must under-nourished and nutritionally deficient. If you’re a low-income household, you may look at McDonald’s dollar menu and think you can get more food for your money. However, these foods lack essential nutrient-dense vitamins and minerals that whole foods have.
Even if you have food stamps or choose to spend money in a grocery store, many impoverished families have to budget and plan their spending wisely. That means purchasing and eating foods such as sugars, cereals, and highly processed foods which last longer and are less expensive than fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Another reason families in low-resource neighborhoods go for cheap, processed food is that is their only alternative. Disadvantaged neighborhoods usually lack healthy food options. There are scarce supermarkets, compared to the fast food chains and smaller stores that provide cheap food.
This leads back to education, which is sometimes lacking in lower-income neighborhoods.
If your closest supermarket is miles away, many families are unable to find effective or cheap routes to get there. It’s not practical to walk miles or to pay to get to a grocery store. These ares are food deserts, or areas where 1/5 of the residents are living in poverty and 1/3 live more than a mile from a super market.
In the U.S., extra health care for one obese household member costs a family an average of 8 percent of their income. So not only are households unable to afford adequate food, but they are now having to pay for the consequences.
By Nikki Iannace