Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a threat for both rural and urban dwellers worldwide (Schell, 1996). As already noted, malnutrition is one of many issues in the web of health problems facing the urban poor and homeless. Although the inability to purchase basic foodstuffs is a critical factor in malnutrition, the availability of nutritious, economically priced food is also a factor. In many U.S. cities, for example, grocery stores are scarce in poor neighborhoods and public transportation systems are highly inadequate. The result of these combination of factors is that residents of these communities are compelled to shop for groceries at bodegas or convenience stores, which have very limited selection and high prices. Himmelgreen et al. (2000) note that in the United States, food insecurity—the limited or uncertain availability of nutritious food—is most experienced in the inner city, in households with children, among the homeless, and among African Americans and Latinos.

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