In today’s society, being healthy is strongly encouraged. But is true health easily obtained for all? Some might argue yes, others might argue that a healthy life style is only for the few who can afford it. When one takes a few steps back and observes Sacramento, one might find that more times than not stores with healthy and organic foods are in better neighborhoods. Then they might also observe that most stores in economically impoverished neighborhoods are often stores with the cheapest foods, and often times no organic foods. With that said, one can only wonder how can poor people afford to be healthy?
No, logically not everyone can afford to be healthy. Those individuals who cannot afford to invest in their health mostly live in communities most commonly referred to as “food deserts”. A food desert is a term used to describe a community with no or very little access to grocery store with affordable fresh and healthy foods. With no access to healthy foods, the less fortunate find themselves with limited options.
According to www.city-data.com, there are only three Nuggets and three Trade Joe’s’ in the greater Sacramento area. Both of these stores sale reasonably priced organic foods. Surprisingly enough, all of these locations are not found in economically impoverished neighborhoods, or in food deserts. The other sites are located farther out of Sacramento.
Driving down Stockton Boulevard, one cannot help but notice that there are no organic produce stores, but there are plenty of fast foods chains. There is almost anything you can think of, from chicken to quick Mexican food. With only a few dollars in one’s pocket, no healthy options in sight, why not go to the drive-thru?
Food deserts alone cannot solely be the explanation for as to why many poor people are not healthy, but the pricing of the food alone. Even some of middle class American are finding it hard to afford healthy foods.
I went out, and spoke to Joanna Corona, a married woman and mother of three children living in the Carmichael area. Upon our interview we spoke lightly of food deserts, and she informed she had never heard the term.
When asked if she thought her neighborhood had a lot to offer someone from an economically disadvantaged household,m Mrs. Corona quickly responded, “Yes, I think it would, because you are close to everything. There are all kinds of grocery stores.”
Mrs. Corona did not however address that even with the stores available, could everyone still afford to purchase healthy food.
Mrs. Corona informed me that in her neighborhood “Anything and everything is available at her local store, from organic to processed” but still she can afford to only buy some of these products.
Even as a finically secure family, the Coronas are not willing to go in debt to have prime health.
She stated, “If healthy food was cheaper, me and my family would be a lot healthier”.
To many health is a luxury; one that not everyone can afford.