Choices, not Geography

open rebellion?

Myth? Busted:

There are 23.5 million Americans – including 6.5 million children – who live in rural and urban areas across the country that lack stores likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. These areas are called food deserts and earlier this year, USDA launched an interactive tool that lets you find these locations on a map.

Studies show that communities with greater access to supermarkets consume more nutritious foods which is why the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity identified access to healthy, affordable foods as one of the key pillars to solving the childhood obesity epidemic.

There are currently nineteen programs from the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services and Agriculture available to support the development of sustainable projects and strategies to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and eliminate food deserts.

Many types of organizations are eligible for assistance including businesses, local governments, non-profit organizations and more. We know that the federal government cannot tackle the problem of food deserts alone and we encourage those who are interested to form partnerships and develop sustainable projects and strategies in their communities.

I checked the USDA interactive tool *cough* for my area and found a “food desert.” In that area are CostCo, Target [with full supermarket], Trader Joes, a huge Mexican market, two or three smaller Asian markets, and several small corner markets. Check your own area; see what you find…

So the idea seems to be that if you don’t have a car and you chose to move to a place that is farther than your idea of “walking distance” from a supermarket, you live in a “food desert.” And, of course, the gub’t oughta kick in and force some markets to be built across the street from you.

Ridiculous, right?

So says the NYT — yes, the New York Times.

But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.

…[Another study found] no relationship between what type of food students said they ate, what they weighed, and the type of food within a mile and a half of their homes.

…[Yet another study found] no consistent relationship between what the students ate and the type of food nearby. Living close to supermarkets or grocers did not make students thin and living close to fast food outlets did not make them fat.

Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones, and they had more than three times as many corner stores per square mile. But they also had nearly twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile.

So, again, we’re back to choices made by individuals.

Here’s your Statement of Teh Day:

Some experts say these new findings raise questions about the effectiveness of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy foods.


  1. PatrickP
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:35 am |

    Each week brings more confirmation that I am right and my liberal planner friends are generally wrong. Haha!

  2. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    What is it with ProggieBots? {Do not answer; would take 10^9th power number 2 pencils…} It is an established medical fact that avoidance of the “Dreaded Sack of Doorknobs Syndrome”/ DSDS/ requires a healthy diet AND Exercise!

    None other than a zillion LibTardette TV exercise shows (…led by Hanoi Jane…) emphasized that! Soooo, now this new doodaa attempt to blame the DSDS on distance to/from *healthy grocery store stocks* ;period.

    The FAIL in this new scheme to fund this horsedogshit with “our money” is easily proven false, by the simple economic principles of Supply and Demand!!!!

    Supermarkets spend a lot of their own money on marketing surveys of the potential customer`s likely buying habits. Which, for example, is why they would not stock 15 feet of a produce department`s refrigerated isle with “Fucking Arugula” in Beeville, TEXAS!!!! If the same example market did not, say, stock Refried Beans, their parking lot would be filled not with cars, but tumbleweeds; period, end of story——————

    The reason a bunch of kids are gonna grow up to be Michael Moore is because, like him, they spend their youth on a goddamn couch, staring at a boob tube; a habit they got from their parents adult-minders….

  3. Posted April 20, 2012 at 9:52 am |

    McDonald’s needs to take EBT. That would fix it.

    So if there are no food stores, where is the EBT money getting spent now?

  4. PeggyU
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 9:59 am |

    Col. Jerry – I admire people who have the balls to operate a grocery business. It can’t be easy anticipating customer demands, having the flexibility to handle fluctuations in gas and produce prices, and maintaining a stock of perishable goods. The grocery store I usually shop at has unionized employees. That must also be a joy to deal with.

    Add government meddling on top of that, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to commit his or her life to that career choice.

  5. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    Follow the money and you’ll find an eager beaver scheming government drone looking to grow a program with a set of regulations that will grow his budget, number of employees and his GS grade, and with the automatic 8% increase in annual Federal budgets if Congress does nothing, he gets to retire on a great pension on our dime.

  6. Melissa In Texas
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 10:49 am |

    Can you IMAGINE the eating disorders being propagated in some of these kids with the families of those who support the nanny state dietary intervention?

  7. geezerette
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 11:07 am |

    I don’t have to imagine I know some–we’re all born with a terminal illness it’s called “life”— it will end — we know not when–or how– it cares nothing of what or who we are– or where your grocery store is.

  8. ZZMike
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 11:46 am |

    But …. I like dessert food.

    Oh. Never mind.

    “Poor neighborhoods, Dr. Lee found, had nearly twice as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier ones.”

    If you want something to eat, and you’ve got $2 or $3, you can go to a McD’s or Jack Inna Box or Carls or Wendys and get that something, right now. Otherwise you can go to a market (regular or super), get a bunch of dinner fixin’s, and in about an hour, get something to eat, and spend the next half hour cleaning up.

    The study does show (yet again) that our “poor” live better than 87.6% of the rest of the whole darn world.

    And they have an average of 2.38 TVs per family.

    I’m thinking of proposing a study to show that studies don’t really tell us anything useful. The result of the study, of course, won’t be much use.

  9. Paladin
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    Yup! I live in a food desert. Of course a 15 minute walk down the hill will bring me to a KG grocery on southside in Nampa. It’s a little country convenience store that has been there since 1959. Its a square building with barely enough room to park 4 cars side by side but has all the fresh produce you can stick a shake at.

    Or I could walk out the back door right now and get some fresh eggs, asparagus, and rhubarb. Later on I’ll have tons more.

    But I guess I’m underprivileged. Must need a gobblerment program to help me out.

  10. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    Perhaps local school boards in poor neighborhoods should bring back at least the cooking portion of Home-Ec. If you are already out of school, YouTube and other sites can teach you have to cook just about anything. Many families have lost the ability to plan or cook meals.

    The poor families that move up the income ladder tend to come from cultures that treasure families and whose diets are based around a staple, for example, beans and rice for Hispanics and rice and noodles for East Asians.

    In my house, we buy 50 pound sacks of jasmine rice and 25 ones of wheat. We add to our staples about 4 ounces of meat per person with some veggies cooked in sauces made savory with herbs and spices. Since we don’t eat this way to economize, there are usually a red and white wine opened at dinner, sometimes sake.

    We are one well fed, extended family with 3 good cooks in residence. The young-ums get taken out for burgers or noodles a few times a month as a treat.

  11. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    Perhaps they could rename those “food courts” in shopping malls as “food deserts.”

    Put in some fake cactus plans and some other desert theme decor.

    Add a “health food” stand next to the courts deserts.

    Chain the bureaucrats who thought of this to the stands and pay them only the profit from the healthy food they sell.

  12. Paul Moore
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    My late Mother used to get a kick out of the anorexic, pasty faced clerks down at the health food store. She was a firm believer in red meat and apple pie.
    Thank God

  13. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

    ^ Dog, the other red meat.

  14. Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    We have a ‘food desert’ nearby, too. There USED to be a store for a major grocery chain there, but they were losing too much on shoplifting and frivolous lawsuits, so they shut the doors.

    There are still a splattering of convenience stores, treated as local ATM’s by the ‘diversity’. Hardly a night goes by that one of those doesn’t get hit for an undocumented cash transfer.


  15. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm |

    If Barry had his way and all those “dirty asian” shops in D.C. closed, there’d be more of a desert there than there is now.

  16. Merovign
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm |

    There are more grocery stores in poorer areas because real estate is cheaper.

    But that’s too close to “icky business-type thinking” for government agencies and liberals to worry about.

  17. Freddie Sykes
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

    The good news is that all those burnt out supermarkets that use to exploit the inner city poor are now urban(e) parks.

    In Detroit it doesn’t matter since raccoon season lasts all year long.

  18. geezerette
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    Food stamp markets?? Hey — there are so many people on food stamps we could open a market that excepts Food Stamps Only— have a back room to make “deals”. Yaaah $$$

  19. Ironic in Denver
    Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm |

    we could open a market that excepts Food Stamps Only— have a back room to make “deals”

    Deals: you mean like food stamps for coke?

    I didn’t know there was a drug desert too.

  20. Posted April 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

    “Food stamp markets”?

    We had one locally where the owner was prosecuted for food stamp fraud. He’d had over $500K in food stamp sales, but the store had only bought $20K in stock during the time period on the investigation.

    Worse than that, I worked with people who were on food stamps and making top union wage, but the people who were in charge of authorizing and reauthorizing eligibility were of the same favored group as the recipients and they were ‘entitled’.


  21. logdogsmith
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 7:19 am |

    Looks to me like the problem is people are too dumb to run their own lives, so the gubt has to step in and pass some legislation to make those rich healthy people do their fair share. Perhaps if they taxed fast food enough to make it less attractive to the less fortunate.

    I’m disgusted that I could even type that.

  22. Posted April 23, 2012 at 7:48 am |

    The Little Rock Air Force Base is listed as a food desert on this site. Who knew the military was starving our heroes to death?