Childhood Obesity, Domestic and Economic Policy, In The News, Op-Eds

Healthy Food is Hard to Find in Barry Farms

Letters to the Editor: The Washington Post

Katherine Mangu-Ward made several valid points in her Oct. 16 Outlook piece, “5 Myths about healthy eating.” However, the notion that poor families lack access to nutritious foods is not the stretch she makes it out to be.

Take, for example, Barry Farms, in the District’s Ward 8. In many parts of that neighborhood, the childhood obesity rate hovers around 50 percent. There is limited Metro access, and few people have cars. Walk to the nearest corner store, as I have, and you’ll find alcohol behind bullet-proof glass, canned foods covered in dust, and, if you’re lucky, a few frozen fruits and vegetables or cereal and milk, all at premium prices.

There are neighborhoods like Barry Farms across the country. Government should focus on eradicating food deserts, creating safer neighborhoods to encourage child play and educating families about the importance of balanced nutrition and exercise, much like what first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program is doing.

Michelle Bernard, Washington

The writer is chief executive of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy.

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