Bonus Post on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity – Discrimination Continues to Exist in Our Communities

The Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011, had an article, tucked away on page 45 of Section A titled, Northwest Pasadena has nutrition woes.  I live only a few minutes from Pasadena, and my experience of Pasadena has been of an affluent community with abundant shopping revenue. 

First, a bit on the demographics of Pasadena, CA:

Population as reported in the December 13, 2011 Los Angeles Times article:  137,000

Estimated median household income in 2009:  $61,298  

Unemployment Rate as of March 2011:  9.3%

Estimated median home value in 2009:  $619,500

White: 39.2%

Hispanic:  34.1%

Asian:  12.3%

Black:  11.0%

Other (inlcudes mixed race, Asian-Pacific, Native American):  2.9%

Pasadena, is clearly a diverse, economically strong community.   The Los Angeles Times article, however, pointed out some interesting disparities regarding the distribution of supermarkets where families can find healthy nutrition options.  While the city of Pasadena has “19 supermarkets serving its 137,000 residents” northwest Pasadena has just three (3) supermarkets for 66,000 residents.   According to the Times article, “A 2008 Pasadena Public Health Department study showed that the neighborhoods near northwest Pasadena schools offer little but fast food.”

Mary Urtecho-Garcia, a program coordinator with the Pasadena Public Health Department stated that, “There is a food desert issue up here…  The food establishments that are here are not catering to a healthy person.”  Convenience stores, small markets, and liquor stores fill the gap, but all of these establishments provide less choice at higher cost to the residents. 

How does this impact children?  A recent California “Department of Education Report found that teens in Pasadena have higher levels of obesity and score worse on physical agility tests than the average California teen.”  Urtecho-Garcia indicated that the Latino population was particularly impacted by a lack of access.

Knowledge of our communities and the acknowledgement that inequalities remain in our communities is essential if we are to effectively advocate for our families.


Flores, Adolfo, December 13, 2011, Northwest Pasadena has nutrition woes, Los Angeles Times


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