Supermarket Shortage

Supermarket Shortage

Supermarket shortages have been identified in many American urban neighborhoods, and such gaps in food access have been closely correlated with diet-related diseases such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes. The shortage began when many supermarkets left mixed-income central city neighborhoods after civil disturbances in the late 1960s and 1970s. Studies suggest that 21 of America's largest cities are experiencing an "urban grocery gap" that is characterized by fewer stores and less square footage per store. The poorest neighborhoods typically have about 55% of the grocery square footage of the best-off neighborhoods.

The migration of supermarkets to the suburbs and a lack of transportation contribute to the malnutrition experienced by low-income Americans who live in under-served urban neighborhoods. Healthy foods are also more expensive and less available in poor areas. Simultaneously, there is a lower prevalence of independently owned grocery stores in low-wealth and predominantly Black neighborhoods and a greater proportion of households without access to private transportation in these neighborhoods.

Studies show that cost is the most significant predictor of dietary choices, so healthy eating is especially difficult for the poor, for whom healthier foods are generally unaffordable. Meanwhile, supermarkets generally provide food at cheaper prices than the bodegas and pharmacies that service inner-city areas. A study that compared supermarkets, neighborhood groceries, convenience stores, and health food stores in San Diego, California found that supermarkets had twice the average number of 'heart-healthy' foods compared to neighborhood grocery stores and four times the average number of such foods compared to convenience stores. In many American cities, an urban grocery gap has caused a lack of access to healthy foods, high prices for the healthy foods that are available, and the health problems that result from an unhealthy diet.

Read more about Supermarket Shortage:  Causes, Community Issues, Racial Issues, Case Studies, Economic Effects, Strategies, Criticisms

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