Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 326- Nutrition Bite

Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer is pushing for increased nutrition aid to the borough's poorer areas with high diet-related health problems. In a new report, Stringer calls for a cap on the number of fast food restaurants, financial incentives to both grocery stores and farmers' markets to offer more local produce, and increased federal funding for SNAP/Food Stamps, the National School Lunch Program, and emergency food assistance programs, especially for areas like Harlem, South Bronx, and Washington Heights. One in six restaurants offer fast food in East and Central Harlem, where 31 percent of residents are obese and 14 percent are diabetic, compared to the Upper East Side's one in 25 restaurants which serve fast food. While Greenmarket Farmers' Market accepts EBT cards, its locations in low-income areas are only open one or two days a week. Agnes Molnar, a consultant with the Food Bank of New York City, supports buying local produce, but notes "people will always have access to unhealthy food. We have to change the culture and not restrict access to fast food."

Sugar Preacher's Experience
When I lived in Harlem and the Upper East Side, I noticed a larger number of fast food restaurants in the low income neighborhoods. The target group for $1 menu are youth, children, and the economic disadvantaged. The $1 meal is loaded with fats, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG. However, some fast food restaurants offer a side salad and a bag of apples on the dollar menu. If you are going to buy food at fast food establishments, choose the healthier options.

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