People of low socio-economic status in US America have 2.5 times as much access to fast-food restaurants as those living in wealthier neighborhoods. Conversely, wealthier neighborhoods have more than 3 times as many grocery stores as their counterparts. Moreover, white neighborhoods have nearly 2 times as many grocery stores as African American neighborhoods.
The collective cost of treating obesity in US America is nearly $150 billion, slightly higher than the total 2011 budget for the USDA. With 27.5 percent of Americans now classified as obese, an average of $1,764 goes to the treatment of each obese American. That’s enough to buy over 7,000 Twinkies.
The obesity rate among American youths has grown to over 16 percent from merely 5 percent 30 years ago. That means that there are now more than 7 million American youths who have accumulated enough body to fat to weigh 20 percent more than their ideal body weight. Roughly 28 percent of African American females between the ages of 12 and 19 are obese and 20 percent of Mexican American Females in the same age group are obese.
Junk foods cost an average of $1.76 per 1,000 calories while nutritious foods cost an average of $18.16 per 1,000 calories. That means that $1 can buy 568 calories of junk food compared to 55 calories of nutritious food.
Food retailers in food deserts on average mark up prices 30 to 60 percent more than in other parts of the country making nutritious foods even more unaffordable. The federal government’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative aims to eliminate food deserts by 2017 with $400 million in funding to increase the availability of food in food deserts.
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Food Desert Locator. U.S. Department of Agriculture. December, 2011. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/
Beaulac, Julie; Elizabeth Krisjansson, PhD; Seven Cummins, PhD. A Systematic Review of Food Deserts, 1966-2007. Center for Disease Control. 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/jul/08_0163.htm
Sheldon, Marissa. Availability, Affordability, and Accessibility of a Healthful Diet in a Low-Income Community, Central Falls, Rhode Island, 2007-2008. Center for Disease Control. March, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2010/mar/08_0257.htm
If You Build It, They May Not Come. The Economist. July, 2011. http://www.economist.com/node/18929190
Gray, Steven. Can America’s Urban Food Deserts Bloom? Time. May 2009. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1900947,00.html
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