Access to food is a concern many of us take into account when deciding where to live. Are there supermarkets or farmer’s markets within a reasonable range? If not by foot then maybe by car? Unfortunately, not many have that luxury of choosing to live close to a good food source, and often times that leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.
One of the most important characteristics for good health is a good diet. A balanced diet with a variety of vegetables and fruits as well as healthy dry foods can be challenging to accomplish. What usually holds most people back from eating well is cost and availability. Often times though, neighborhoods with a generally low income population usually get the short end of the stick. Supermarkets are often scarce in those regions, often times classifying themselves as food deserts. Residents are often forced to travel long distances to reach supermarkets. This distance may be accessible by car but for those in the neighborhood who solely rely on public transportation, that distance becomes hugely inconvenient and inaccessible. Thus food shopping is often done in small corner stores that don’t offer such a wide selection of products as a supermarket. Furthermore the products sold at these corner stores are usually more expensive that those sold at supermarkets.
These food shopping characteristics makes it extremely difficult for someone of a low income living in a low income neighborhood to eat healthy. Options are few, and the healthy ones that do exist are expensive. This situation only causes the residents to become more unhealthy and spend more money on health bills further down the line. It’s a never ending spiral.
More attention needs to be given to this situation. The problem is not a simple one, because simply building a healthy supermarket in the region doesn’t solve the issue. As was the case with the fresh grocer in New Brunswick. The shift needs to be planned and research must be done. It’s important to understand what the demand is and what is actually affordable for the population.