By analyzing data from focus groups in a poor, mostly African American neighborhood in a large U.S. city, we describe how residents in urban food deserts access food, the barriers they experience in accessing nutritious, affordable food, and how community food insecurity exacerbates prior social, built, and economic stressors. Provided the unwillingness of supermarkets and supercenters to locate to poor urban areas and the need for nutritious, affordable food, it may be more efficient and equitable for government programs to financially partner with ethnic markets and smaller locally-owned grocery stores to increase the distribution and marketing of healthy foods rather than to spend resources trying to entice a large supermarket to locate to the neighborhood. By focusing on improving the conditions of the neighborhood and making smaller grocery stores and markets more affordable and produce more attractive to residents, the social, built, and economic stressors experienced by residents will be reduced, thereby possibly improving overall mental and physical health.
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