Deserts? In Dallas? 

By Claire Miller 





Living life in a food desert creates numerous problems for families ranging from obesity and heart disease to hindrance in cognitive ability and in academics. Children who are forced into a life where healthy food is tough to come by are becoming stuck in an almost endless cycle of hardships. Bringing attention to this problem of food deserts in the Dallas Area is what is going to help break this cycle.

Studies show that food deserts are situated around lower income workers and their families. Companies simply do not want to situate their stores in areas where they won’t generate as much profit. Due to the selfishness of these companies, families who live in these food deserts have no other choice but to turn to convenience stores and fast food chains to satisfy their hunger. Oftentimes, these convenience stores are stocked with alcohol, candy, and maybe a few eggs, but never fresh produce. The risks of fast food are already widely known.due to the poor health choices that these families are forced to make, obesity, malnourishment, and risks of heart disease are significantly increased. This shortens the lifespans of these people and negatively impacts their bodies.

Despite the obvious health concerns if food deserts, due to the insecurity of nutritious food, children face academic challenges as well. Sources like the Chicago Tribune in 2009 show us that kids who have at least 3 nutritious meals a day are better fueled for school and academic pursuits, and perform much better in school. If a student eats unhealthy meals for continuous periods of time, they will face major hindrances in their learning, including but not limited to worse cognitive abilities, and slowed motor skill growth. In addition to this, other studies show that eating an excess amount of unhealthy food can lead to higher stress and anxiety levels in both children and adults. Due to obesity, also, people can get depression from being insecure about their bodies.

Essentially, because these lower income families are unable to provide healthy food for themselves, they are faced with health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, they are faced with educational obstacles like lower scores and disturbed growth of motor skills, and they are faced with more mental health problems like increased stress and anxiety and hard feelings about body image.

For companies to increase their profit, they are placing grocery stores in areas where people of higher incomes live because they are the ones who will be able to access and buy the most from these stores. This practice should be thought of as wrong but after all, these companies are trying to feed their own families, right? But at the price of other families shouldnt be the key. Instead, we as a community need to step up and help these people so that their income wont affect their health, their education, and their mental health.

You can step up and help these communities by travelling to food deserts in the Dallas area and maybe offer them some free transportation and free fresh food. You can also consider donating to these communities so that they may be able to afford some of the fresh food. You could also raise awareness to your local government about this issue. But remember, don’t let this problem sit, please step up and raise awareness about this underrated problem.

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