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It’s obvious that north Minneapolis needs a healthy choice with healthy foods in the form of a community co-op. A north Minneapolis food co-op with community training on healthy eating would be a start in a long process to heal community disparities. North Minneapolis non-profit agencies have been granted millions of dollars to address this issue, but it doesn’t seem important enough to idea, create and implement a plan.
In a paper from Crime & Diet – The Growing Epidemic Among Youth, it says, “The United States is reputed to be the most powerful nation in the world, advanced in technology, fueled by corporate wealth and equipped with military strength, we have become blind sighted by our own ignorance. As America climbs in global rank and succeeds in battling foreign enemies abroad, the core of this nation—its people—are fighting their own battle. The future of the United States, like all other nations, is dependent on the health of its citizens and unfortunately, the rate of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and AIDS is increasing dramatically. For example, 37 percent of American children and adolescents carry too much weight. Two out of ever three adults are overweight or obese. In the United States in just 8 years – from 1990 to 1998 – diabetes among people in their thirties shot up 70 percent! India has the largest number of HIV carriers in the world. In the United States AIDS is the leading cause of death in young adults ages 25 to 44. Every day six thousand people contract AIDS worldwide. The United Nations warns that 65 million people will die of AIDS in the next 20 years.
The insurmountable number of obese persons in the United States is greater than anywhere else in the world. And one might ask why? How is this possible? The answer is simple: food and dietary habits. It should come as no surprise that food is the number one cause of illness, and one’s dietary regiment will affect their state of health. It’s a fact, but we have lost sight of the truth. We wonder: why does the United States have the highest crime rate in the world? Why are our children murdering each other on school campuses?”
What could possibly induce this deviant behavior in our children? Ironically, the answer once again is simple: “SUGAR.”
North Minneapolis suffers from some of the highest disparities a community can come in contact with: AIDS/HIV (one of the highest in the US women 13-18 years old); Unemployment (Second only to Detroit in Black/White jobless gap); faltering public school education system (Mississippi, Alabama graduate more Black students then the Minneapolis Public Schools system); Large concentration of non-profits in a geographic area (200+ in north Minneapolis including parks and churches with no successful business models that have employed at least 30 people for more than 1 year.); and Violence – year-to-date over 23 homicides in the City of Minneapolis, some with no suspects.)
North Minneapolis non-profits have changed the meaning of jobs, career and a future to a “program.”
The issues here become clinical – “What are the diets of the youth in north Minneapolis and with the heightened levels of sugar bring heightened levels of violence?”
On the week of June 23rd through the 24th, IBNN and a representative from the National Research Institute spent 2-hours a day at Wally’s Convenience Store on the corners of Golden Valley Road and Penn Avenue North. Wally’s is the source of controversy due to a recent act of violence that left a north Minneapolis community worker with a bullet lodged in her chin – (Read about it here).
Customers of Wally are ranged in age from 6 to 45-years old during the time spent observing the shopping habits of community members. The most popular purchases were Honey Buns; Soda Pop, Candy and a variety of chip snacks.
One very popular item purchased by male and female teens, were high sugar mini-drinks in flavors of strawberry, lime, citrus, and blueberry – all these drinks were high in sugar.
IBNN talked with a teenager named Tanisha. Tanisha had just purchased a bag of Doritos, a strawberry soda and some random candy items. IBNN and a representative of the National Research Institute asked the teenager, “Why did you purchase these items – did you know they are high in sugar?”
Tanisha responded, “This is quick and the only thing available over here if you want a snack. I don’t have any time to walk to Cub Foods and I was hungry.”
IBNN asked Tanisha,”What do you think about a Health Food Co-op in north Minneapolis selling fruit, vegetables, and drinks with all natural ingredients?”
Her reply was, “Yuck!”
IBNN observed the large about of youth’s going in and out of Wally purchasing candy, soda pop, cigarettes. Adult customers purchased milk, and what looked like household necessities like eggs, flour, cereal, and food extension products like Hamburger Helper, Taco Mix and Sloppy Joe add-in.
The Health Risk of not having Healthy Choices:
Sugar has been a long-time health hazard, especially in a poor area. The result of no healthy choice in north Minneapolis has led to some of the highest rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease for the geographic area of North Minneapolis.
To also add some facts, the large Black population of north Minneapolis is effected and is “at risk” simply due to the lack of healthy choices.
Black Health(dot)com reports Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious health challenges facing the more than 30 million Black Americans. The following statistics illustrate the magnitude of this disease among Black Americans.
In 1993, 1.3 million Black Americans were known to have diabetes. This is almost three times the number of Black Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes in 1963. The actual number of Black Americans who have diabetes is probably more than twice the number diagnosed because previous research indicates that for every Black American diagnosed with diabetes there is at least one undiagnosed case.
For every white American who gets diabetes, 1.6 Black Americans get diabetes.
The University of Minnesota School of Public Health studied 2,761 high school seniors to explore the correlation between multi-vitamin supplement use and lifestyle decisions. The study published in the December 2006 edition of The Journal of the American Diabetic Association established that teenagers who take multi-vitamin supplements are more likely to exhibit a healthier attitude toward life including a greater willingness to exercise and eat more nutritious foods.
Junk Food, Sugar can be directly attributed to heightened “random” acts of violence with unbecoming behavior.
North Minneapolis is in desperate need of a healthy choice with community training on the qualities of a good diet. This is just one piece of the puzzle. The other pieces include a shift in the economic atmosphere.
The solution from some community members is closing Wally’s Convenience Store, why not change the community mindset on healthy eating and have these foods at Wally’s – does that make to much sense?