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From Food Deserts to Healthy Cities

This generation of American children is predicted to live shorter lives than their parents–quite a shocking statistic. Even more shocking is that we know the reasons why and unlike epidemics of old they are within our control. At the root of the problem is obesity, inactivity, and unhealthful diets all centered around communities that don’t promote the kind of lifestyle that is necessary for prosperous, healthy lives. Many of the statistics are discouraging. “Food deserts” are more common in urban areas, leaving communities devoid of anything except convenience stores and packaged, artificial foods (Cheetos and Pop Tarts anyone?). Children’s lives are also lacking exercise like never before. According to New York Times health columnist Jane Brody, “In 1974, 66 percent of all children walked or biked to school. By 2000, that number had dropped to 13 percent.” These problems are a result of poor urban and community planning. Many children in suburban areas are confined to their neighborhoods because public transport isn’t available or reliable. Urban children also have fewer free spaces to play or (often) safe streets to walk on. Read more here.