nutritious food

Assignment Content

Access to nutritious food is something that we expect in the US; one of the wealthiest nations on the planet. Despite our high level of wealth, many subsets of the US population do not have access to nutritious food for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are rooted in economics, and some in geography. Many times, these factors work together in both urban and rural areas.

1) Select a location on the Maryland map. I recommend selecting a zip code (or perhaps part of a zip code) that you are familiar with. Open a mapping website (like Google Maps) to understand the food options available in the location. Using your best judgement and knowledge of the area, what is the ratio of healthy to unhealthy food options? Healthy food would include any kind of grocery store that sells fresh food, and restaurants that provide options that rely on vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats. Unhealthy food would include convenience type food, fast food, prepackaged ready to eat food (like you would find in gas stations), fried food, and heavily sweetened or salted foods. Much of this is subjective, so use your best judgement. Using Google maps, is the area walkable (or is there readily accessible and affordable public transportation), or do residents need a car to shop for food?

2) Visit the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future- Maryland Food Systems Map at Launch the map and open the Food Retail options of the map. Can you get any more information about healthy food access in this map? Open the Nutrition Assistance options in the map. These options are made available to help fill the gap in food accessibility or meet the free-market failure to insure access to healthy food. Can you learn anything new about the nutritious food availability in your area? An area that lacks these options may be wealthy enough to not rely on them, or it may be a gap that is going unfilled. Open the Health options on the map. What correlations do you see between food access and health outcomes in your area?

3) Zoom out on the map and compare your area to the rest of the state. What comparisons can you make? Select an area of the state that you believe has different economic opportunities (either higher or lower) than your selected area. What differences do you see with regard to food access and health outcomes when you compare these two areas and the state as a whole?

There are other geographic and environmental metric included in this map. I encourage you to explore them as well if you are interested. If you have an interest in food policy, I encourage you to check out the other studies JHU conducts on the topic. Baltimore is a very interesting case study. Due to some unique local governmental organization that dates back hundreds of years, Baltimore is one of the few cities in the US that is not part of a county and does not get the financial benefit that provides.

Submit a document summarizing your findings. Did the exercise provide you with a surprising information? Your document should be at least 500 words (not a requirement, but an idea for those of you that are not sure if you have provided enough information). Documents should be 12-point font, double spaced, standard margins. You do not need to cite the required documents but do include citations if you refer to other documents. As always, follow the standards of academic writing.

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