Country Life Often Opposite of Healthy

Poverty, limited grocery options have rural America in diet 'deserts'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 11:23 AM CST
This file photo shows an obese man in a cowboy hat.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Rural America isn’t all hearty farmland, Newsweek writes: Many country areas are “food deserts,” supplied mainly by convenience stores. With supermarkets distant and healthy food more expensive than junk, impoverished residents often become unhealthy—hungry and fat. “A nutritionist will just say, 'Buy more fruits and vegetables,' when, in fact, the buying part is not simple,” says one epidemiologist.

A new study illustrates the problem. Examining one rural county, it finds only 28% of food-sellers stocked fruits and vegetables. Of 77 food-sellers, 57 were convenience stores. The median income, meanwhile, is just $30,000. Federal help is needed, one rural health researcher tells Newsweek. “If you start now, these people won’t be having heart attacks at 40.”