Poverty: A Social Problem

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A “social problem” is a concept that describes conditions that create negative consequences for groups of people, manifesting in our social environment and then creating physical consequences. Social problems are birthed not only from current social attitudes of groups that hold power, but also the structural circumstances that are built and maintained out of them. Poverty is distributed disproportionately in the U.S., among racial groups in particular. For example, while White Americans represented the largest proportion of the United States in poverty in 2011, this was due to the group being the majority of the population. Poverty within non-Hispanic Whites as a collective was actually the lowest. The same cannot be said for other racial…show more content…
The term “food desert” refers to a lack of access to grocery stores and healthy food options, which correlates with increased numbers of convenience stores and fast food restaurants that seldom sell healthy options. Low-income and minority neighborhoods seem to be most at-risk to these unhealthy choices (Hilmers, Hilmers, & Dave, 2012), and in an almost predatory way. And it’s not a matter of placing grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods; education about nutrition tends to be lacking, and the hassle of buying the more expensive, fresher foods, spending more time and resources to cook them, and having a shorter window of edibility (NYTimes, 2015) may seem like more trouble than its worth for those who find themselves making a choice between food and other…show more content…
These phenomena have been ingrained into society and attributed to differences in work ethic or in individual worth—but the poor and the hungry are probably not all that interested in staying poor and hungry! If it were as simple as working more or working harder, it wouldn’t be so persistent. It’s more likely to be caused by a systematic cycle that has been carried over generations without being actively negotiated and solved. The worst outcome of not addressing the problems like poverty and food insecurity is the persistence of its far reaching effects—it’s more than just hunger. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, food insecurity can affect physical health, mental health, and academic performance in undergraduate students (p.4, 2018). Another study in the Journal of Criminal Justice stated that children exposed to food insecurity tend to develop lower amounts of self-control (Jackson,Johnson, Newson, Vaughn, 2017,

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