Why Food Equality Resides Only in the Burbs

The media and health industry like to talk a lot about the obesity epidemic, and how to curb it, Americans need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. It sounds easy, and for many of us is a completely attainable and realistic goal, but for many Americans who live in low-income communities, it’s just plain not an option.

There is a growing disparity of food prices, quality and grocery store availability in the United States between inner-city and suburban communities, and the effects are becoming more apparent with each passing year.

It has nothing to do with willpower, laziness or even lack of nutrition education. For families in low-income neighborhoods, like so many things in life, getting a nutritious meal all comes down to money.

The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as “all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life” The World Health Organization (WHO) adds that in addition to having food availability at all times, food security also means being given access to these foods at affordable prices and understanding nutritional concepts.

It seems like a simple concept- who doesn’t have access to food?- but food insecurity is prevalent in low-income neighborhoods. Food security and access to grocery stores varies greatly between low income and suburban neighborhoods. Suburban neighborhoods statistically have numerous supermarkets that tend to have higher quality products, nutritionally speaking, where lower income communities are overrun by convenience stores that sell low quality, high calorie, nutritionally void food items for low prices.

There have been multiple studies on adults and adolescents that charted the connection between neighborhood income and resident’s access to grocery stores, and their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and high calorie and high fat snacks. The results indicated that neighborhoods with complete access to supermarkets tend to choose healthy products and overall have a better food quality intake.

Chung and Meyers conducted a study in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area where about 50 grocery store item prices were compared from 55 different stores in the area. The results indicated the poor tended to pay a little more for their groceries, and that larger chain grocery stores, where the prices are less expensive, were not located in the poorer neighborhoods, period.

‘Myth: Kids will live longer than their parents.
Truth: This generation of children will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are now being seen in elementary-aged children versus middle-aged adults.’

Supermarket chains like Whole Foods or Stop and Shop set up shop in mid to upper class neighborhoods. In the Boston area, a typical Whole Foods supermarket is located in a neighborhood with an average median family income of $73,000 and the median family income for a Stop and Shop supermarket is $57,000. The median family income for the city of Boston, however, is $44,151.

So where does this leave low-income communities? To buy their groceries from convenience stores like fast food chains, gas stations and discount outlets with limited options. One can’t eat fresh fruits and veggies if there is nowhere to get them.

Morton and team carried out a study to investigate the association of the local food environment and the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. The researchers analyzed availability of supermarkets, grocery stores and convenient stores in Mississippi, Maryland, Minnesota and North Carolina and the rate of residents’ cardiovascular diseases. The majority of the study population was white, overweight adults. The results indicated that the availability of supermarkets and grocery stores correlated with a decreased prevalence of being overweight while the majority of convenience stores correlated with an increased prevalence of being overweight. The researchers argued that the local food environment should be considered when trying to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.

Did You Know?
Overweight kids are more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods and greatly affect African-American and Hispanic children.

While the availability of supermarkets with nutritious fresh foods is limited to higher income families, fast food restaurants are found on every corner in low-income neighborhoods. For instance, McDonald’s locations, on average, are found in neighborhoods with a median family income $44,000- the income that is too low for Whole Foods or Stop and Shop to service.

So what does this mean? Dietary patterns are known risk factors for diseases such as obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Furthermore, several studies have shown an economic and racial divide for healthy food access. Residents of rural, low-income and minority communities are regularly ignored by supermarkets and grocery stores, and their health is suffering for it. Obesity is more prevalent among minorities in low-income communities, because they only have access to, and can afford, overly processed, high calorie foods.

‘Bottom line: Our local, state and national environments influence our health decisions, in particular our access to healthy, quality foods. Supermarkets tend to be located in middle class neighborhoods while fast food restaurants are located in low-income neighborhoods. As a result, an entire population is left without access to healthy foods because of the amount of money they make, which isn’t the food security all Americans are entitled to.’

10 Healthy Choices on McDonald’s Menu

– Ask the server to hold the salt on the fries
– Apple dipper with low-fat Carmel Dip
– Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait
– English Muffin
– 1% Low fat White Milk Jug (8 fl oz)
– Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich (without mayonnaise)
– Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken
– Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream
– Fruit and Walnut Salad
– Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap (Grilled)

Should You Give Your Pet Grain Free Food?

Having a pet at home is a huge responsibility and feeding your pet the right food is an important part of your responsibility. However, with so many brands of pet food available in the market, it is difficult to decide what is best for your pet. To make things even more difficult, a new trend in pet food emerges every few years.

Today, many pet owners prefer giving their animal friends grain free food. Giving your pet grain free food can be a good option for some pets but not for all pets. There are several factors that you must consider when giving your pet grain free food like lifestyle of your pet, their dietary requirements, activity level and their age. Therefore, it is important that you consider the individual needs of your pet before you decide on what food is best for your pet.

The trend of giving raw food to pets gained momentum after a study conducted by people who supported raw food diet. The study showed that both wild cats and dogs survived only on meat and rarely ate grains and other vegetables. Therefore meat was considered to be closer to natural diet of your pet.

Before you decide on what food you should give your pet, it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of grain free food. Most people who support giving raw food to pets don’t consider grain free food a bad option. However, they are of the view that it could be a problem for pets that are sensitive to these foods. Sensitivity to grains can cause indigestion, vomiting, bloating or even aggravate your allergies.

Grain free diet can benefit dogs and cats that suffer from diabetes and cancer. Also, animals that eat food that don’t contain grains usually have more energy and a better muscle tone than animals that eat grains. Most vets recommend that you give grain free food to pregnant mothers as it contains extra proteins and nutrients.

However, you must avoid giving raw food to animals that are old or have limited mobility as they may gain weight easily. Also, giving raw food to pets that are already overweight will only increase their weight. Another important aspect that you must keep in mind when buying grain free food is that is expensive when compared to foods that have grains. People who have a limited budget may find it difficult to buy grain free food for their pet.

Before you decide on what food is right for your pet, you must evaluate the needs of your animal friend. If you are unable to decide on what you must give your pet, it is best that you consult a vet.

Homemade Pet Food – The Latest Animal Dietary Trend

Pet owners in the United States and in some other countries began to seriously worry about the safety of pet food in the Spring of 2007. Pet food was found to be contaminated on what can only be called a massive scale. Pet owners in many different locations were faced with very sick pets — even with pets that ended up dying.

As a result, the move towards preparing and creating homemade pet food became even stronger. In fact, over the course of the past fifteen years, a growing number of people have taken to making their own pet food for their companion animals. There are a number of stellar benefits associated with creating homemade pet food for your pets.

Wholesomeness and Safety

Of course, as has been mentioned previously, many people have become concerned about the safety of commercially made pet food. And, as has also been mentioned, this has driven more and more pet owners towards making their own food for their companion animals. Thus, one of the most obvious and most significant benefits associated with homemade pet food is the fact that you can be assured of its safety and wholesomeness. Because you are making the food, you know what has gong into it. You will not be worrying that you are taking some sort of crap shot by purchasing pet food off the shelf at the market or pet store.

Nutrition and Homemade Pet Food

When all is said and one, nutrition is the second most important consideration in regard to pet food after the safety issue. When you obtain food your pet, one of your primary concerns needs to be the nutritional content.

The problem is trying to dig through all of the claims and counterclaims associated with commercially produced pet food. It becomes very hard to determine what fact is and what fiction is when it comes to commercially made pet food.

By making your pet’s food directly, you know precisely the nutritional content that is in the food. You have 100% control over what goes in and what stays out of your pet’s food items.

Saving Money with Homemade Pet Food

Many people have found that maintaining their pets can be an expensive proposition. Because pet owners overall have become more astute about what their pets should eat, many pet owners are investing more money in commercial pet food products. In truth, this really can become more expensive.

By making your pet’s own food, you really have the ability to prepare high quality food for your pet and not pay high prices for those meals.

Homemade Pet Food — Variety for Your Companion Animal

Pets have a number of things in common with people. For example, most pets like at least some variety when it comes to their food. By making your pet’s own food, you have the ability to provide you friend with choice, change and variety when it comes to its menu.

Creating Homemade Pet Food can be Enjoyable

Many people have found preparing pet food to be an enjoyable task — particularly people who have a penchant for cooking and baking. If you are such a person, odds are strong that you will also enjoy making pet food for your favorite friend.


There are, indeed, many benefits associated with homemade pet food. Through this article, you will have the chance to weigh and balance your options in order to determine whether making pet food for your companion animal is the right choice and the right solution for both you and your friend.