Food Deserts: Understanding and Overcoming Barriers to Healthy Eating
Food deserts refer to areas with limited availability of fresh, affordable, and nutritious food. Food deserts can exist in urban and rural communities. These areas often lack grocery stores or supermarkets offering healthy food options. Inadequate access to fresh and nutritious food in food deserts contributes to adverse health outcomes, including obesity and diet-related diseases.
Socioeconomic factors, such as income levels, transportation, and neighbourhood characteristics, play a role in the existence of food deserts. Lower-income neighbourhoods are more likely to be affected, as grocery stores tend to concentrate in affluent areas with higher demand. Limited transportation, especially in rural areas, further hampers access to healthy food options.
Nourishing Schools Foundation aims to empower students as future change leaders by enhancing their knowledge of food and nutrition. Through the programme, schools receive valuable resources and support to promote healthy eating habits and increase access to nutritious food options. Students are able to set up school gardens, giving them access to a wider variety of nutritious foods. In some regions, children have applied the lessons from school gardens to set up community homestead gardens.
By educating students about healthy food choices and encouraging them to advocate for healthier options in their communities, the Nourishing Schools Foundation addresses the underlying causes of food deserts and strives to improve health outcomes for all.