Exploring Food Access and Health Disparities

By Sarah Buila.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

I joined the wellness committee at the counseling center where I worked. We talked about how to increase our health habits and those of our co-workers. We organized lunch hour walking parties, got group discounts at a health club and decided to have a potluck luncheon in order to share our healthy recipes and sample the food. My co-workers talked about recipes that are low in fat, low in salt and sugarless. Often this meant artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes were part of their recipes. No one said anything about avoiding processed foods or eating less meat. No one said anything about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains or organic and locally grown foods. It was at this very moment that I realized I was from a different planet. The planet I come from calls for a much different diet. The planet that I’m from has poor and affluent people alike who are obese. While in some parts of the world people are starving. Race, class, and gender influence health outcomes. What we eat is influenced by outside factors and I see people getting further away from the source of all food, the earth. Food is one common denominator in health disparities. On my planet there are disparities in access to healthy foods. Part of the solution is related to broadening awareness. Coming up with solutions means coming up with new definitions about what is healthy food, and redefining our roles as health care practitioners/world citizens. Could it be that there is a diet that is not only good for you, but good for your global neighbors and the earth?

Keywords: Diet, Health Disparities, Food Access, Global Health

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.103-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 700.307KB).

Sarah Buila

Assistant Professor/Undergraduate Program Director, School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA

Sarah Buila, PH.D. is Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director at the School of Social Work at Southern Illinois University, USA. She has been teaching courses in research, and health/mental health practice. She has over 16 years of experience in mental health practice and has long been interested in social justice issues related to mental health, race, religion, class and ability.