The Right Roughage Lacks in the South Bronx

The dearth of supermarkets leave Blacks and Latinos without healthy food choices...

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Photo courtesy of newsone.com

From Ashton Lattimore at NewsOne:

Lisa Harris knows how to put together a healthy, balanced dinner. Baked salmon alongside brown rice, served with a few broccoli florets – that’s the kind of meal she prefers to make for her family. But since moving to the South Bronx from California six years ago, it’s been a constant struggle for the mother of two young boys –2 and 4 years old – to find stores close to home that sell the ingredients she needs.

Harris lives in the Patterson housing projects in Mott Haven, a small neighborhood in the southernmost part of the Bronx. Mott Haven and the surrounding communities have been identified by the New York City Planning Department as areas suffering from a severe shortage of supermarkets, according to a report released last October.

As one of the United States’ most well known predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, the South Bronx provides a stark snapshot of the crisis in the availability of healthy foods for minorities nationwide.

With 82,000 residents and 12 supermarkets, the South Bronx has 22,000 more people than the whiter and wealthier Upper West Side—but less than half as many groceries, according to city planning department data and maps.

Absence of supermarkets contributes to area health troubles

But Mott Haven residents like Harris didn’t need a map to tell them that something was wrong.

“There’s nothing around here,” she said. “It’s really terrible how you go like 40 blocks downtown, and there everything is.”

But more than merely inconveniencing residents—who often have to leave the area altogether to find decent produce—the scarcity of healthy food is resulting in dire health consequences for the neighborhood. Two-thirds of adults in the South Bronx are overweight, compared with one-half citywide; one in four is obese, compared with one in five citywide; and 17 percent have diabetes, compared with 10 percent citywide, according to the NYC Department of Health.

Read the rest of the article here

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