NYC: Healthy Food Not Always Available

This topic gets rehashed in the news every few months. The problem, many neighborhoods in big cities don’t have access to healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies. So what happens? A growing number of residents develop tragic health problems—diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.—due to the abundance of junk-food that somehow manages to find its way into the neighborhood.

Last year The New York Times focused on the diabetes epidemic in New York City. These articles make it pretty clear that limited access to nutritious disease-preventing food and wide-spread availability of inexpensive convenience food contributes greatly to the risk of type-II diabetes. Take a look:
Today the Associated Press examines Harlem and how its food retailers and restaurants are less likely to sell healthy food than other areas of Manhattan. Colleen Long has more:
In Harlem, fast-food restaurants are more prevalent than shops selling fresh vegetables, according to a city health report.

Food stores in the area in upper Manhattan are mostly bodegas, and the small groceries are half as likely to carry low-fat dairy products as their counterparts in swankier neighborhoods and seven times less likely to sell fresh vegetables, the report said. Only 3 percent of corner stores in Harlem sell leafy green vegetables, compared to 20 percent on the nearby Upper East Side, it said.

"Large health disparities exist between Harlem and other New York City neighborhoods, but we can close those gaps," said Dr. Andrew Goodman, associate commissioner of the East and Central Harlem District public health office, a division of the health department.

In addition, one in six restaurants in Harlem is a fast-food joint. All this adds up to serious health problems for neighborhood residents, who are three to four times more likely to be obese or have diabetes than people who live on the Upper East Side, Goodman said.
Most of the news on this topic seems to be just about blowing a lot of hot air and not really doing anything to fix the problem.
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Jo - May 21, 2007 10:21 AM


Not surprised about the fruit

A friend of mine with a toddler told me that in one of her parenting magazines an expert suggested as a way to curb obesity not giving children fruit.
The thought is that fruit contains simple sugars that lead to insulin spikes and overeating.

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