In ‘Food Deserts,’ Oases of Nutrition

By Tina Rosenberg

Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps

School girls lined up to purchase after-school snacks at one of the Kedai Balitaku food carts in Jakarta, which serve healthy food to children.

Poor urban neighborhoods in America are often food deserts — places where it is difficult to find fresh food. There are few grocery stores; people may do all their shopping at bodegas, where the only available produce and meat are canned peaches and Spam. If they want fruits and vegetables and chicken and fish, they have to take a bus to a grocery store. The lack of fresh food creates a vicious cycle; children grow up never seeing it or acquiring a taste for it. It is one reason that the poor are likelier to be obese than the rich.
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