One thing you see more and more nowadays is a separation of healthy and unhealthy food. Modern slums have become “food deserts”. In these food deserts, there are no good grocery stores. People living in there, many without reliable transportation, have to get their food from convenience stores and fast food restaurants. This means that they don’t have access to fresh meat and dairy and produce. Forget organic food; many poor people in this country have trouble getting conventionally grown produce. They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what happens if you have neither an apple nor a doctor?
How do food deserts arise? As mom and pop grocers have given way to large supermarket chains, the supermarket corporations have become increasingly reluctant to build in “bad” neighborhoods. While this is doubly true of “healthy” chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, it also applies to conventional grocery stores like Kroger, Albertson and Safeway. Even the ubiquitous Walmart has been reluctant to build stores in the worst neighborhoods.
For people in these food deserts, junk food the only choice. First Lady Michelle Obama has been working to change this, but progress is slow. So next time you resolve to eat healthier, try to remember that some people don’t have a choice in the matter.