Diet-related disparities can be defined as “differences in dietary intake, dietary behaviors, and dietary patterns in different segments of the population, resulting in poorer dietary quality and inferior health outcomes for certain groups and an unequal burden in terms of disease incidence, morbidity, mortality, survival, and quality of life.” Thus, diet-related disparities reflect differences in diet, as well as in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and the burden of disease between and within specific population subgroups. Typically, racial and ethnic minority groups --defined here as Black or African American, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian/Alaska natives -- experience diet-related disparities, and consequently tend to have poorer nutrient profiles and dietary behaviors and patterns relative to whites. These disparities are often defined as diets high in fat, particularly saturated fat; low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and high in salt. However, it is important to note that while disparities are often defined on the basis of race and ethnicity, factors contributing to disparities may be more associated with socioeconomic status rather than ethnicity or race.
A review of differences in diet across various segments of the population is beyond the scope of this commentary. Nonetheless, it is instructive to highlight some examples of diet-related disparities. For example, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, only 21.3% of African Americans consume fruits and vegetables ≥5 times per day, the lowest of any U.S. racial or ethnic group (4). According to results from NHANES III (1999–2002), non-Hispanic blacks were 43% (odds ratio: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.46–0.70) and Hispanics were 5% (odds ratio: 0.95, 95 CI: 0.81–1.11) less likely than whites to meet USDA fruit and vegetable guidelines (5). There are also within-racial and ethnic group disparities.
We find these statistics very alarming and we want to pose a few questions, has the system been designed to prevent Black and Brown people in this country from eating healthy and practicing a healthy lifestyle? It is a known fact that more corner stores that sell hoagies and burgers have a larger presence in the communities of Black and Hispanics Communities compared to predominately white communities. It is also fact that food deserts which are defined as an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food, never occur in communities of higher social economic status. Some might argue that social economic factors and lack of education plays an immense factor in the gap.
What we as one of the wealthiest countries can not allow is the message to continue to be sent that if you don’t live in an community located in a specific area that you can’t have access to nutritious food. Also we must educate ourselves on nutrition and make sure we are feeding our bodies with healthy options that will help us live longer and lessen the chances of heart disease and diabetes. Our goal is to continue to educate our readers on the importance of nutrition and exercise not just to look good but to live a great quality of life.
Whole Foods often found in Suburban and Down town areas, A little more expensive yet offers a better quality of produce. If you do not live near one it Is worth the travel , if you do not have a vehicle Lyft , or Uber to the closest location. Barter with a friend or relative for a ride in exchange for another service. We are all in this together.
Budgeting Suggestion: Only Purchase fruit & vegetables Here.
Local Produce Markets: Most areas will have fresh produce markets that are fit for everyones budget. Use google to locate one near you.
We also want to provide you with a list of healthy food options to incorporate into your diet.
In addition, staying active matters. This is the only body you will ever have, treat it kindly, and practice self care. Share this information , as it our goal to close the diet disparities gap.