I was born and raised on the Southwest side of Chicago, West Elsdon to be exact. A predominately Latino neighborhood. Growing up, the biggest health inequity I have observed is the food deserts prevalent throughout my community. I remember my constant visits to the corner store located three minutes from my house. It was the most convenient place to shop for groceries than walking half an hour to our closest produce store. I didn’t see it as a problem as a child because I thought that was normal and the purpose of a corner store. That’s what it was like when coming from a “hood”. Going to a grocery store was a luxury that was only available once or twice a month.
At a corner store, one could get blue soda and Flamin’ Hot Asteroids or other over-processed and poor quality produce; not fresh organic products. As I grew older I came to notice there were more fast-food chains and corner stores than there were fresh produce markets. As being apart of a non-gentrified community there aren’t the typical organic and healthy alternatives that one would find in a recently gentrified neighborhood.
This is where the health inequity comes to play, food deserts are a factor when it comes to the well-being of a community. How is it that the life expectancy of a higher income community is older than my own? It has to do with the type of nutriment that is apart of one’s neighborhood. Coming from a community that has more McDonald’s and Burger Kings on every corner than Whole foods can cause higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and other preventable health issues. The issue here is that why does there have to be a change in the census within a community in order for healthier resources to be apart of a neighborhood?