Bronx residents have limited access to healthy food. As a result, malnutrition is a significant problem in the borough. Although to some extent every level of government (e.g.: federal, state, city) shares the responsibility for this problem, the local borough is perhaps most liable. The main function of local borough governments is to ensure that their communities are well served. Because of its proximity to the residents, this level of government is most knowledgeable about the issues each community faces. As a result, borough governments can best advocate for the local community members.
Like freedom or economic subsistence, access to proper nutrition is a fundamental human right. In order to exercise this right, people require access to quality food. However, healthy food in the Bronx is quite scarce. This is further exacerbated by the presence of many fast-food restaurants and junk-food advertising, which propagates unhealthy eating habits in the borough. This situation carries significant consequences, as nutrition provides the necessary building blocks for one’s physical and mental capacity. As such, people who lack proper nutrition in their diet are more likely to develop illnesses and other health complications.
Malnutrition in the Bronx can be directly traced to the low average income of the borough’s residents. Because the Bronx ranks among the poorest counties in the United States, residents are not able to spend enough money on food. As a result, they patronize inexpensive food sources, such as fast-food chains. These places often use unhealthy cooking ingredients, such as high cholesterol frying oils. Food from these sources is usually high in fat and calories, which are the leading cause of obesity. Also, inexpensive food tends to lack protein and amino acids, nutrients that are indispensable to human growth.
Although fast-food chains are abundant in the Bronx, there has been a recent wave of health food stores in certain sections of the borough. Nevertheless, these places tend to charge a premium for their products. Through gentrification, only the most recent wave of middle-class Bronx residents can afford these prices. Another reason why Bronx residents do not shop at health-food stores is lack of education. On average, Bronx residents of whom many are immigrants, lack access to educational resources. Deeper understanding of the relationship between food and well-being could potentially inspire them to make more informed consumer choices. One way to combat the absence of proper nutrition in the Bronx is for the local government to provide better educational opportunities on nutrition. Such efforts could draw the Bronx residents’ attention to the benefits of consuming healthy food, and the importance of personal food choices. Another way to improve the food quality in the Bronx is for residents to form advocacy groups designed to pressure the local government into action. Collaborative group efforts organized by dedicated local citizens have a rich tradition of success throughout the history of the United States.