Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Catherine Marrs Fuchsel

Abstract

Food deserts are urban as well as rural areas where a quality amount of adequate nutritional food is hard to come by. In many instances, people may live within a few blocks of fast food restaurants, but in order to get to a grocery store they may have to travel many miles. The people who live within these food deserts are often considered low income and are ethnically minorities. This research project is a qualitative exploratory study that analyses the relationship between people living in low income food desert communities with their lack of nutritionally affordable food options. One of the goals of the research project was to discover how the population living in these low income communities feels about their opportunities to obtain healthy food. A theoretical framework of content analysis was used as the method to construct and interpret themes found throughout the analysis. Eight in-depth interviews were conducted with low income community members, male and female, who were 18 years or older. Data analysis occurred within one month of conducting the interviews. The core themes that emerged in the data were: 1) characteristics of participants; 2) impact on children; 3) consequences of living in a food desert; and, 4) solutions to food deserts. The social work profession has paid little attention to this area of concern. Food deserts are made up of primary low income level populations, which is a major area of social work practice. It is important that the social work profession researches this topic more in depth and become more knowledgeable on how food deserts affect their clients.

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