I plan to answer the question why are there so many “fast-food” restaurants in the low-income neighborhoods? Is it because of the population in certain neighborhoods or is it infrastructure?
To help understand my research first I must explain what food deserts are. Food deserts areas that you will find in a neighborhood with low-income residents and who has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, it is also characterized by a lack of supermarkets, fruit markets, and farmers markets which decreases residents’ access to these healthy fruits, vegetables and other whole foods.
Fried chicken restaurants in low-income neighborhoods are so abundant in these communities when compared to predominantly white neighborhoods. There are national and local chicken chains that is mainly take-out and does not provide sit down table service, it is a place where you can get foods other than chicken that would be considered energy-dense foods. These restaurants are known to serve food that is low in nutrients but high in calories, fat, and cholesterol, the effects of fast food are prevalent in the black neighborhoods. It is a known fact that the Black areas are more actively sought by these fast food companies causing segregation in an already targeted area. (Association). This has become a big problem because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts, and fast food restaurants that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic.
In most of these low-income areas healthy food is hard to find because of the lack of access to mainstream food options. According to (Gallagher, 2014) often Food Deserts have an imbalance of food choice, meaning a heavy concentration of nearby fringe food that is high in salt, fat, and sugar. Many fringe locations in the low-income neighborhoods offer very convenient food but cannot support a healthy diet on a regular basis. Many studies have been done about Food Deserts and they come back with the same results, that residents that live in these Food Deserts can suffer worse diet-related health issues, including, cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and other diseases, and as well as premature death.
Most people don’t realize how fortunate they are to be able to have access to healthy foods. Considering where you live, are you able to buy fresh, skinless chicken as easily as ready-made fried chicken for the fast food neighborhood store? In these Food Deserts the residents are only able to purchase ketchup not fresh tomatoes, or French fries instead of fresh raw potatoes, in some Food Desert communities, whole fruits like a pineapple would be considered exotic because these types of fresh fruits are so hard to find.
Upon my research, I have learned that when companies surveys a low-income area they know that the chicken fast food business will get high sales and that they will get better results if they are located near liquor stores, supermarkets, and the likes. When these companies consider their target neighborhood they must consider location characteristics which includes what type of neighboring shops are in the area, what is the climate of the local business, is it a high crime area, what are the public services that is available and the condition of homes, buildings. (Pinson and Jinnett, 2000). In the US predominantly Black neighborhoods often use the characteristics of a food deserts, where “it is easier to get fried chicken than a fresh apple” (Brownell and Battle Horgen, 2003). It is not an easy task to get “fresh apples” (metaphorically speaking) because these low-income neighborhood do not have adequate access to supermarkets, and it is much easier to buy “fried chicken” in the neighborhood.
This paper will explore by examining how race-based community segregation acts as a mechanism which fast food density is determined. The Black population has one of the highest rates of overweight and obesity along with high blood pressure and diabetics. And, it stands to mention that “fried chicken serves to intensify health disparities and that fast foods restaurants are not absent from White neighborhoods, but on the contrary, it’s been a long tradition of fast foods being a part of the automobile culture making it very common in the suburban landscape.
There is a growing interest in the factors that contribute to poor health outcomes, particularly in areas where health disparities are pronounced. More than half of adult New Yorkers are either overweight or obese. By examining food deserts and identifying a lack of healthy food available in disadvantaged neighborhoods in supermarkets and the fruit and vegetable markets. A quarter-mile distance was chosen because people are willing to walk for approximately 5 min to reach neighborhood food markets. (Atash, 1994, Pushkarev and Zupan, 1975). African-Americans have a higher risk of obesity, High Blood Pressure, and diabetes. Unhealthy fast food restaurants are the main reason for this problem especially in Brooklyn, New York where these fast food chains provide foods that are high in sodium and fat. It is also socio-economic because the choices that people have are severely limited by the options available to them and what they can afford.
These fast food restaurants not only serve fried chicken, fried fish, fried chicken tenders, onion rings, and pizza.
A family of four and purchase the family box which includes 10 mixed pieces of chicken, six biscuits and fries for $10.99 compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken of eight pieces of chicken, 2 sides, and four biscuits for $18.99. Low-income families look more at the price than the nutritional value.
One fried chicken breast has 510 calories, 290 calories from fat, 3010 sodium (mgs).
The recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day for an adult human. The average American gets more than twice the recommended daily dose of sodium which puts the low-income at risk of dangerously raising their blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Both poverty and race matter when it comes to having healthy food options.