GOOD

Is It Better to Provide Health Food or to Eliminate Junk Food?

When it comes to the fight against obesity, what's more important: access to healthy food or barriers to unhealthy food?

Where you live can have a lot to do with how you eat, but just how much is a matter of debate. As I noted yesterday, developing more grocery stores in "food deserts"—those barren stretches of the city where you’re more likely to find a liquor store than a supermarket—is not necessarily the key to healthier eating in those communities. Now, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has more evidence to add to the desert debate.

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Beyond the Food Desert Mirage

The link between food deserts and health is far from absolute, so maybe it's time to focus on the bottom line: more affordable food.

Rahm Emanuel has made eradicating "food deserts" a priority of his mayoral reign. He recently met with grocers in Chicago to discuss bringing affordable, nutritious food to under-served, low-income neighborhoods. That food access may come in the form of Walmarts, Walgreens, and Aldis.

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Food Desert Solution: New York's Green Carts

Compelling portraits of how the invasion of green umbrellas in New York City changed the city's food deserts.


In 2008, New York City introduced Green Carts, the centerpiece of its effort to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the city's food deserts. The hope was that produce-poor neighborhoods would welcome the invasion of green umbrellas. Vendors would sell more bananas, apples, grapes, and leafy greens. In the long run, increased access could mean more consumption, and more consumption could help reverse the alarming rise in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Almost three years later, there's more than 400 carts. As Oran B. Hesterman writes in his new book, Fair Food: "The Green Carts project seems to be working and is a model that can certainly be replicated elsewhere."

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