Letter: Program expansion would help address food deserts

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As family physicians, we were encouraged by the Nov. 29 Mountain Xpress article highlighting consequences of food deserts in Buncombe County [“Nutritional Wastelands: Local Agencies Battle Health Woes of Food Deserts in WNC”].

While there are many organizations that provide healthy options for patients here in Western North Carolina, our patients still face barriers to these services. Just [recently], one author met a patient from Candler who could name her community resources but faced persistent access barriers due to long work hours.

The Healthy Food Small Retailer Program helps to fill this gap by enabling local store owners to supply healthy foods in low-resource areas at a reasonable cost. Improved funding to this program would expand existing services by financially supporting store owners with fresh-produce shelving, storage, marketing and food distribution. We hope that program expansion would support our patients by providing affordable, high-quality nutrition at more convenient locations.

We see firsthand the repercussions of poor access to healthy foods for our patients. While we have medications to treat many medical conditions, there is no substitute for a healthy diet. We have a long way to go before all food deserts are eliminated in North Carolina; this bill is an important step forward. We hope the citizens of our community will join us in asking our representatives to support this important program expansion.

— Ben Doolittle, D.O.
Matt Roe, M.D.
Alyssa Shell, M.D., Ph.D.
Rebecca Thomson, M.D.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Letter: Program expansion would help address food deserts

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    many people living in food deserts don’t even know it … far too many know nothing about nutrition, including doctors, who don’t get nutritional education in med school…

    many people have no concept of a healthy diet. have you ever asked an obese person how they got so big ?

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.