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When Emma and Myrtle were assigned a specific food plan for the benefit of their health, the disadvantage was present always. Not only do they live in two different locations with different access to food, but Myrtle was unable to obtain the amount of food that Emma could. Emma had access to a full-service grocery store, while Myrtle only had access to a convenience store, which doesn’t serve half the amount of fresh items as the full store does. As I was going down the list, I noticed a trend for fresh food that was unavailable in the convenience store.
Items such as avocado, peppers, strawberries, and bananas were out of sight. However, Emma and Myrtle both had access to products that could be preserved or easily made such as peanut butter, salad mix, brown rice, and raisins. Some decisions that Myrtle would have to make would be whether she should use the rest of her SNAP money on cheap processed foods, so she could get her food cabinet stocked.
The next one could be to stick to her plan and to find another method of transportation to reach a store where the products that she is lacking are available. The last one would be to break the rules and to use her money on appliances and non-food products for her house and for herself.
Two social determinants of health that would play a role in the challenges that Myrtle is facing would be unemployment and transport. With the presence of unemployment, it puts more health at risk where it is widespread, and it accelerates the psychological and financial consequences that come with it.
Studies have shown that it is a catalyst for ill health, and risk factors for heart disease. In Myrtle’s situation, unemployment could be a significant reason for her condition, with the location where she lives. Usually, in areas where income is low, there are not any full-service grocery stores to provide the people. Her employment status could be the thing that prevents her from moving to a location where there is access to fresh foods.
Lacking transportation could be also be causing the poor health conditions that Myrtle is experiencing. With the access of healthy transport, less driving, more walking, and better public transport, it increases social contact, protects against heart disease, limits obesity, and reduces the risk of diabetes. Isolation and no community interaction increase poor health as well. In Myrtle’s condition, she may live in an area that is rural and isolated, and where there is not much human interaction. Also, she may have a small access to any form of transportation, in which the convenient store is her last resort.
The two solutions that could reverse the effects of a food desert would relate to the social determinants of health. For unemployment, having unemployment benefits set at a higher proportion of wages will act as a safety net for those who are out of work. Also, in order to increase social networking and to reduce debt, credit unions are a must. For transport, by increasing financial support for public transport, and reducing state subsidies for road building, more areas would have access to public transportation, which would help the individuals that live in food deserts find the products that they need (Wilkinson). The two ethical principles that would relate to these solutions would be justice and beneficence. Aristotle once said, “ giving to each that which is his due.” Justice is fairly distributing goods in society, which would relate to building more roads to increase the access to public transportation. Beneficence seeks to prevent and remove a patient from harm while benefiting society as a whole. Beneficence would relate to helping the unemployed because helping those who are unfortunate not only helps the individual but the community as a whole (McCormick).
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