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Healthy food is everywhere, so why we don't eat healthy?


The lack of fresh food and produce is certainly not something we can complain about in Malaysia (although the prices are another matter altogether), with our supermarkets, hypermarkets, wet markets, pasar malam (night market), pasar tani (farmer's market), and even, food trucks selling fresh meat.

So, the concept of the "food desert" might be a bit foreign to us.

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, Centre for Diet and Physical Activity Research (Cedar) Social, Economic and Neighbourhood Determinants of Diet programme lead Dr Pablo Monsivais explains: "There was some research in the '90s in the UK that said that lack of access to fresh, healthy, affordable food was partly to blame for the unhealthy eating habits in Britain, and they got this idea going about food deserts.

"That idea was born in England, then it spread, and is now a global phenomenon."

This concept is particularly popular in the United States, where it really caught on about 10 years ago.

The underpinning assumption behind this concept is that people typically shop for groceries within their own neighbourhoods.

However, Dr Monsivais notes: "The connection between neighbourhoods and our behaviour isn't actually that strong.

"Because most of the things that are related to how we eat and our health are measurable at a personal level."

Based on his research, he says that he can tell a lot about what a person eats just from their age, gender, ethnicity, relationship or family status, income and education level.

"If I know what neighbourhood you live in, I can add a little bit more information to that story, but it's a very small part, and that makes sense because our individual characteristics are so important in dominating how we behave, including how we eat," he adds.

Resource: Healthy food is everywhere, so why we don't eat healthy?
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