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Chicago Women and Children Last in the Food Desert - July 18, 2006

Chicago has roughly 500,000 people who live in the food desert, a place with no or distant grocery stores, but nearby fast food options.

Most are single women and children.

Our research demonstrates that residents of the food desert are more likely to suffer and die prematurely from diet-related diseases and conditions. We have known for a long time that diet equals health, but recent research being conducted by medical scientists around the world goes farther, suggesting that child-bearing women who have low or no access to quality, nutritious foods have a greater propensity to pass on diet-related diseases and conditions to their offspring. This might be one reason why we see adult level diabetes increasingly affecting children.

We like to believe in America that a motivated child can defeat all odds. But what if you have these health traits passed on before birth, intake high levels of fat and sugar but low levels of nutritious foods, and grow up sick as well as poor? In those cases, it’s typically harder to develop your full mental and physical capability. It’s harder to pay attention in school and to ultimately graduate. It’s harder to find a job and become gainfully employed.

If you are a child growing up in the food desert, is the deck stacked against you from the beginning?

Read the short briefing to find out and to view map.

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