J500 Media and the Environment

Healthy Food for the Poor by jackiemcc

Before I took my Media and the Environment journalism class here at KU, I had a very strong opinion that poor people couldn’t have access to healthy foods because of their limited income. Over the course of the semester, we have studied the impact food has on our society, and how the media is portraying that. Throughout the course, I began to think more critically about food than I ever have before.

This analysis has opened me to see new perspectives and opinions. From this, I have come to realize that there might be more than one side to an issue. And this is certainly true about the common debate of healthy food access for the poor. Since the beginning of the course, my view on this has slightly changed. While I’m still not completely convinced, I have become more supportive of the idea that poor people can and should eat healthier foods at a low cost. I also think society should help support this idea, instead of dismissing it all together, like I did.

After doing some research, I found that there are plenty of tips out there to guide poor people on how to eat healthy. Some of the main suggestions, among others, include: utilizing coupons, sales and bulk shopping, making larger portions so you can have leftovers for other meals, avoiding processed foods, shopping with a grocery list so you only buy the foods you need, and buying more herbs and spices, and seasonal foods, which are generally less expensive, to spice up simple foods.

In addition to grocery stores, many farmers' markets are now accepting food stamps so poor people have easier access to healthy foods. Photo Courtesy of: http://www.igougo.com.

I think this was what modified my thinking the most. Before this point, many classmates had disagreed with my earlier opinions, but no one was telling me how or why poor people could eat healthy foods. It wasn’t until I saw this article that I started to look at the situation in a whole new light.

Even though this proposal will only affect the poor people directly, I think society can play a role in it as well. I think the government is doing a good job with their involvement in it already, with programs like SNAP, which provides healthy food to low-income families, but I think they could play an even larger role in the process.

Some ways in which society and the government could play a larger role in the process could include: placing taxes on foods with low nutritional value to subsidize foods with high nutritional value, link the purchasing power of food stamps with the nutritional value of the food (such as, one dollar of junk food could be worth two dollars of fruits and vegetables), and educate more people on how to eat healthier foods for a lower price. I don’t think many people know if, and how, they can eat healthy foods for a low price. If we educate them on how they could do that, I believe more people would take part in healthy eating.

Although I am not completely convinced that this idea is feasible, I am willing to give it more consideration. I think there is a possibility that poor people can eat healthy foods, and I don’t think society should dismiss the idea altogether.

-Jackie McClellan


3 Comments so far
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You bring up some great suggestions about how the government can help make healthy foods more accessible and attainable for low income families.

I like your idea about placing a tax on foods with low nutritional value to help subsidize the cost of healthier foods. Do you think that by the government subsidizing crops, such as corn, that it has contributed to why processed, unhealthy foods cost less than fruits and vegetables?

Micole A.

Comment by micolea

That’s a great question! I do think that because the government has subsidized crops, the unhealthy foods cost less than fruits and vegetables. I’m sure the easy access to subsidized crops such as corn, has a large impact on it. If it’s more readily available, more unhealthy ingredients (like high fructose corn syrup) will be used in the product. With the government subsidizing these crops, they’re only helping the effort of producing unhealthy foods.
Great question!
-Jackie M.

Comment by jackiemcc


I’m wondering what you think some good solutions are to the fact that many lower-income neighborhoods don’t have any healthy foods near them. Because the taxes, coupons, etc are great… but what can help people who physically can’t get ahold of healthy foods? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

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