Saturday, May 5, 2012

Access and Consumption

I have been writing my research interest statement which is a required first step in preparing for my comprehensive exams. I take my exams at the end of the summer.  The statement isn't a statement in the sense of it being a sentence, or even a paragraph.  It is to be 2-3 pages long. My draft is a full three pages and I feel good about it, but my professors have to review it and that always means more writing is ahead.  I am particularly partial to one  section that I wish to share here with you  - even in its current version.

As you are certainly aware, my interests involve the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Informed Eating.  I also speak of location and food deserts in my blog posts.  Food deserts have been in the news lately (for a different reason) and I have some of the recent studies set aside to read. 
Location is included in my research interests though I am beginning to see it a little differently now.  I don't think that the way to reduce chronic disease and obesity rates in impoverished neighborhoods is as simple as providing a grocery store, or even my favorite, a "healthy" local corner store.  Instead, I believe that there is an underlying psychosocial stressor inherent in a neighborhood so poor that certain retailers won't sell there.  For the adults who live in food deserts, this stress may lead to a sense of helplessness and lack of agency.  It is that powerlessness that could leave them feeling that it is no use - and thus healthful eating - well, it isn't even on the radar.  YES - the neighborhoods should be improved and healthy food options provided, especially to get in front of this for children, but again, not quite that simply.

So - I think that really is enough for one post - I will share my specific writing on access in another post, likely Monday bc tomorrow is O&Es.

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