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Food Dessert

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Food Deserts of America

I had been walking for what seemed to be miles, passing up numerous food stands displaying their treats, goodies, and everything unhealthy that one could have thought of, but none of the food stands had what my body was craving. I pushed my legs to keep moving forward and I kept telling myself I would find what I was looking for. All I wanted to do was, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," (Pollan). An extremely overwhelming need for produce and fruit was overcoming my body, and it seemed as if the farther I walked in the hot mid-day sun, the more unhealthy the food began to look. Today, simple things, such as fruits and locally grown vegetables are found very rarely in most urban cities throughout America. Although technically urban areas do contain food, they do not contain many "real" foods. By saying "real" food, this means that they do not contain many fruits, plants, or vegetables. Since the "real" food is hard to come by, these urban areas are known as the food deserts of America. The urban areas that are known as food deserts, acquire this name by not technically being a desert, but having scant amounts of fresh foods readily available to their residents. Living in an urban area where ones diet mainly consists of fast food or greasy cooked food from the corner store can be extremely problematic, because a lack of necessary nutrients in your diet can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other diseases.

There are Burger King's, McDonald's, Taco Bell's, and Rally's restaurants at every other corner in every urban city, but trying to find a local market with the necessary foods and nutrients essential for a healthy diet can be difficult. There are, in every urban city, gas stations that are selling overcooked, greasy hamburgers with chips, pork rind's and Coca Cola, and local mini marts that sell meat out of a can, and fifteen different types of Little Debbie cakes. The green, stringy, and bountiful weeds that spurt up in the cracks of sidewalks look much healthier and nutritional than pretty much all of the food-like things that the food desert's force down their resident's throats. Although I have never lived in an urban environment I have visited quite a few and based on my experience from simply staying in an urban environment and what I like to call a food desert, I would have to imply that one main cause of unhealthy Americans is the lack of nutritional value in the foods that are available where they live. Moore Patterson, writer of the 2010 publication of the Urban and Rural Comparison (Fact Sheet), states that, "People in urban areas are often faced with limited selection and higher cost for fresh fruit and vegetables than consumers in more rural areas. Due to distance and limited transportation options, shopping for healthy food can prove difficult for those living in areas not served by a major local market chain" (Patterson 1). Inevitably the consumption of fresh foods happens less often than the consumption of fast foods, simply due to the accessibility of the fresh food and cost issues that arise in obtaining fresh foods in urban communities.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and the leading cause of heart disease is high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These two things are both linked to an unhealthy diet. Patterson also states that, "Coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity and diabetes were significantly higher in urban population rather than in rural populations" (Patterson 1). Urban residents eat a higher calorie diet than that of the average American. Therefore eating a higher calorie diet will inevitably lead to these significantly higher rates of heart disease, and obesity in urban communities. The high calorie diet among urban residents consists



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