How Does Food Deserts in Urban Areas Affect Education, Health, Nutrition and Weight Management

How Does Food Deserts in Urban Areas Affect Education, Health, Nutrition and Weight Management


The lack of healthy food resources in some areas has negatively affected a large population of American citizens. These areas are now called “food deserts” and include places like Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Such regions have a limited number of fresh food stores and supermarkets. Therefore, the people living in the disadvantaged areas opt into the consumption of manufactured foods which have far-reaching effects on their health, nutrition, education, and weight management. This study will explore poor eating habits such as consumption of takeaway foods which increases the BMI of the individual. Moreover, the lack of fresh foods in the food deserts deprives people of essential nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. Also, the foods sold in such areas contain a lot of added sugar leading to weight gain and obesity. Furthermore, the study will explain how food deserts affect education. Obesity reduces the functional capacity of students reducing their academic performance.

Keywords: food desert, obesity, nutrition



How Does Food Deserts in Urban Areas Affect Education, Health, Nutrition and Weight Management

Corapi, S. (2014). Why it takes more than a grocery store to eliminate a ‘food desert.’ PBS NewsHour.

The author Sarah Corapi is a health news editor with PBS NewsHour. She interviews Professor Steven Cummins a Population Health educator about his study on eliminating “food deserts” initiative. Cummins notes that the lack of access to healthy food resources in urban and rural neighborhoods is correlated to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiac diseases. The article explains the research findings of the study that the location of supermarkets in the food desserts does not make a difference in the dietary habits of the people. Also, Cummins insists that the establishment of the supermarkets in disadvantaged areas only improves access to healthy foods but not the perceptions towards a healthy diet.

The article is a credible source of information for research. The report was published by a credible news organization, PBS NewsHour. Moreover, the author is a health news reporter with many years of experience in the field.

This source is useful for research because it gives the researcher an insight into the buying habits of customers with the establishment of new stores in the neighborhood. Furthermore, the article motivates the researcher to explore the researcher to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the health effects of unhealthy diets.

Sturm, R., & An, R. (2014). Obesity and economic environments. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians64(5), 337-350.

This article relates obesity to the economic problem of “food deserts.” The authors explain that lack of access to healthy foods in some areas drives the residents to consume alternative foods which are less unhealthy. Moreover, the authors cite low-income levels among some individuals as the cause of junk food consumption. However, frequent consumption of manufactured foods results in obesity. Data from the study indicates that there are high numbers of obese children and adults in areas considered to be “food deserts.”

The journal article is a credible source. It is a peer-reviewed source with an abstract and references. Moreover, the source provides a summary of the key points relating to food deserts to the high rate of obesity in some areas. Also, the article has actual data analyzed and summarizes the findings to come up with the conclusion that food desserts increase the number of obese individuals within society.

This article contains more detailed information on the relationship between poor eating habits caused by lack of access to healthy food alternatives and obesity. Besides, the study raises the question about the prevalence of obesity across all social groups. Moreover, it also questions the government efforts towards eliminating food deserts. Thus, the source may be used to support the claim that limited access to healthy food causes obesity.

Brownell, K. D., & Walsh, B. T. (2017). Eating disorders and obesity: A comprehensive handbook. Guilford Publications.

The authors explore various eating disorders among different social groups. Such include obesity, anorexia, and night eating disorder which harm the academic performance of adolescents. Of interest is the fact that the disorders result from poor eating habits associated with the lack of healthy food resources in food deserts. The authors also note that adolescents with such disorders are stigmatized by peers and ridiculed which negatively affects their academic performance. Moreover, obesity reduces the functional capacity of the children leading to poor grades.

The source is a book published by a credible publisher. Therefore it the information obtained from the source is reliable. Also, the book analysis some of the commonly known eating disorders. Furthermore, the authors cite studies published by credible organizations.

The source relates eating disorders to the lack of access to healthy food stores just like the other sources. However, the authors show the effects of obesity and other eating disorders on education among adolescents. The book evokes questions like how obesity reduces functional performance. It can be used in the research to support the main arguments that food deserts have an impact on education.

Johns, D. J., Hartmann-Boyce, J., Jebb, S. A., Aveyard, P., & Group, B. W. M. R. (2014). Diet or exercise interventions vs. combined behavioral weight management programs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of direct comparisons. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics114(10), 1557-1568.

This study asserts that weight management can reduce the risks associated with obesity and being overweight. However, the researchers summarize the various methods employed in managing weight gain such as diet, physical exercise or both. The study includes randomized trials of behavioral weight management programs (BWMPs) using dietary methods and physical body exercise. Moreover, the authors identify the challenges to managing weight gain through the diet. The lack of access to healthy food options in food desert areas makes it impossible for individuals to check their weight. Also, the authors agree that people living in such areas are more likely to put on more weight instead of losing some weight.

The journal article is peer-reviewed making it a credible source for the research paper. The researchers collect data and conducted a meta-analysis on data obtained from various published reports. Moreover, the authors give a summary of the key points captured in the paper such as diet and exercise methods of managing weight.

Contrary to the other sources used, this source analysis how the food deserts in urban areas affect weight management. Therefore, it discusses the diet method of weight management which is affected by the existence of food deserts. The article raises the question about the alternative techniques for weight management apart from exercise and dieting. The source may be used to show that foo deserts hinder weight management programs.

Milano, A. (2017). Food Deserts-What is it, and how does it affect nutrition? Retrieved from

The author defines food deserts giving some of their characteristics such as high cost of foods, lack of healthy foods and the inability of individuals to access the food stores. The author goes further to explain the nutrition issues arising in food deserts. Primarily, people living in disadvantaged areas are often overweight or obese. Obesity and excessive weight gain result from the consumption of manufactured foods which have added sugar. Moreover, drinks and beverages sold also contain added sugar. However, these foods lack some essential nutrients such as vitamins, and therefore some valuable nutrients are deficient in the foods sold in these areas.

The web article is a credible source. The author is a qualified dietician with Cabrini College. Moreover, the website is an official site and does not contain any advertisements. Therefore, the information contained on the website is reliable.

This source explains how poor eating habits associated with food deserts deprives the body of essential nutrients. The source has broad information compared to the other sources. The article raises the question of nutrient supplements in food desert areas. The source may be useful when explaining the relationship between poor health and poor eating habits in food deserts.

Burgoine, T., Forouhi, N. G., Griffin, S. J., Wareham, N. J., & Monsivais, P. (2014). Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based cross-sectional study. BMJ, 348, g1464.

The primary objective of the study is to investigate the relationship between exposure to and consumption of takeaway foods and weight gain. The researchers conducted cross-sectional research relying on data on individual diets and weight. This study shows that there is a positive relationship between exposure to fast-food outlets and the consumption of takeaway foods. In essence, weight gain is positively related to the consumption of takeaway foods.

The source is a peer-reviewed journal article and thus a credible source. The authors use data from previous articles less than ten years old to generate data for this study. Also, the researchers summarize the objectives and methodology of the research in the introduction part showing how the study relates food deserts with weight gain.

This source analyses the effects of take-away foods, a phenomenon common in food deserts, on weight gain. It evokes the question of healthy alternatives to takeaway foods. The source will be useful in showing the effects of poor eating habits on weight management.