Food and Consequences

in The Word is Text by


by Freddy Lopezmapfood of bell gardens

Google Map of Bell Gardens



According to the Center of Disease Control, Latino adolescents in the United States are classified as obese. There can be many factors to why this is happening. It can be anywhere from what they eat, lack of outside activities, lack of neighborhood safety, and a lot of television being watched and not monitored properly. All though this happens everywhere in the United States, I will be focusing on two cities in the Los Angeles County to show and compare why Latinos have by far a higher percentage with their youth being over weight.

Truth is that Latinos are ranked second highest with obesity rates within the United States. According to the Los Angeles Times in 2011 the city of Bell Gardens had the highest rate for child obesity, formerly Manhattan Beach had the lowest rate in the Los Angeles County. 96 % of the population in Bell Gardens is Latinos; with an annual income of thirty six thousand dollars per household. One factor that needs to be considered is fast food restaurants. Incredibly just within a 1.9-mile distance on Florence Ave, we are able to get any type of food we would like. There’s a KFC, Sam’s Burgers, Donut shops, 7-11, pupuseria, two taco stands, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr, Dominos pizza, and a Torta stand to say a few. It isn’t crazy that there are so many greasy places to eat , but these places are within minutes from five schools!  One high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools are minutes away from these unhealthy spots. Unfortunately, it seems that fast food chains will keep opening more locations in cities like Bell Gardens since they know people there will buy their food because its cheap and affordable. On the other hand  Manhattan Beach, a more affluent city, there are only a few fast food restaurants and there are more healthy places like Flame broiler and Jamba juice.

Another factor that may contribute to this high percentage is the location in which these cities are located.  For starters the city of Bell Gardens only has two parks or recreation centers. How are children supposed to get their daily activity when there are only two parks in the city? That means parents might have to go to other parks to register their children into some sports since the local parks don’t offer sport activities. Unlike Manhattan Beach there may not be as many parks but one thing that they do have is the beach. Children in Manhattan Beach may go for a swim, play on the sand, or just take a stroll. The fact that the city is also safer doesn’t have them worrying during their activities. Unlike Bell Gardens Latinos don’t necessarily feel safe and avoid going to the park or anywhere late at night. They know they that they risk getting robbed, assaulted, and simply don’t feel safe enough to be walking around neighborhoods in the city. Which can avoid people from their daily exercises.

It doesn’t look like obesity rates for Latinos will drop any time soon. The lack of resources and additions of these fast food restaurants in the lower income neighborhood is only going to make things worse.  If someone were able to buy ten chicken nuggets for 1.49 at Burger King, why would they go anywhere else to feed their children? The prices for at these fast food places are ridiculous but people will continue buying them. As such, the neighborhoods where we live impacts our health!

The El Popo Newspaper was first published in 1970 by students concerned about the lack of a Chicana and Chicano perspective in newspapers. As a result, students called the newspaper, El Popo. The paper was named El Popo after the volcano El Popocatepetl. Involved in Chicana/o Movement of the 60’s and 70’s, students saw a connection between the smoke spewing volcano ready to erupt and the student movement ready to engage. Thus, throughout the El Popo’s forty-six years, the name continues to symbolize and to represent the spirit of each generation of students that contribute to the pages of the El Popo Newspaper. Faculty Advisor/Publisher Carlos R. Guerrero, Ph.D.