By now, most Americans are aware that a majority of Americans are afflicted with obesity and other related health problems. Often, people believe that the solution is quite simple: make healthier food choices. Take these anti-obesity ads, for instance. The implication of these ads is that parents “don’t care” enough to feed their children properly. Furthermore, children who opt for junk food are at fault for their health issues. Essentially, obesity is a personal matter which can be solved by making better choices, self-control, etc.
However, I don’t believe that people do not know that a piece of fruit is healthier than a bar of chocolate. Indeed, it does not take a nutritionist with a P.H.D. to figure out that eat three meals a day at McDonald’s, 7 days a week, is not healthy. In other words, the problem is not lack of education or simply personal preference. Rather, some Americans choose to eat unhealthy foods because they have no other option. For instance, the healthiest foods – such as organic, gluten-free, grass-fed meat, etc – are too expensive for many Americans to afford. Furthermore, many NYC neighborhoods (typically low-income) do not have grocery stores within walking distance, which make it difficult for elderly and those without cars to gain access to things as simple as fruit. In addition, street after street is often laden with fast-food restaurants, convenient stores, food carts, etc., which sell greasy foods with high sugar and fat contents. Ultimately, while it may be true that individual choice is a factor in today’s obesity epidemic, I contend that structural problems also contribute to growing rate of obese Americans. Therefore, I would like to raise awareness about the problem of unequal access to healthy foods.
Groups Members: Alverneq, Monika, Abe