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Food Desert

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2012) defines “food deserts” where people have limited access to a variety of healthy and affordable food, are commonly households with low incomes, inadequate access to transportation, and a limited number of food retailers providing fresh produce and healthy groceries for affordable prices tracts tend to have smaller populations, higher rates of abandoned or vacant homes, and residents who have lower levels of education, lower incomes, and higher unemployment.

History of Waianae

The U. S Census (2021) demonstrates a correlation between higher poverty rates and food deserts, like in Waianae Hawaii. Here on Oahu, it is known as the “forgotten coast.” The history of Waianae was that it was a Native Hawaiian fishing village. Soon after Westernization started it was used for sugar cane plantations. Once WWII started, the plantations were closed, the Federal government took over much of the land and no industry was ever reestablished in this community (REAL, 2021).

Pros and Cons

The pros is that it is a tight knit community filled with local families that support one another and carry on with many Native Hawaiian traditions. The land is undeveloped and there are no large tourist hotels.

The cons is that the people are disadvantaged due to transportation, access to food, healthcare and have to travel longer distances into other communities to work.

Notes about the pictures:

There are not any Dollar Stores in Hawaii. Locals in this community use Longs Drugs as a “dollar store”

Restaurants are all focused on cheap, unhealthy food options.


REAL. (2021). Living in Waianae, Hawaii. Realhawaii.Co. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from 

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2012, August). Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts. Ers.Usda.Gov. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from 

U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Waianae CDP, Hawaii. Census Bureau QuickFacts. Retrieved March 31, 2022, from 



Epidemiology and Public Health Discussion

The Food Sections in the Dollar Stores

The stores are beautiful, and I have realized that the price tags of items are cheap. Every item costs less than a dollar and others one dollar. The stores have several supplies, and the food section has chunky foods. The other store has food supplies that are imported from overseas. In the first store I visited, I learned that it has some benefits and demerits in the community. The food was cheap, and most of them contained sugars thus, the families with lower incomes dominated the store because it had a lot of people, especially women. This store feels the requirement because it provides the American Dream to low-income customers for a dollar a day. The store also establishes a sense of profusion by filling its store with several products set on the shelves with cheap price tags (Chenarides et al., 2021). Consumers also make more intelligent decisions by shopping in the store. I also found out that the customers find shopping in the store rewarding.

However, the store has a disadvantage to the community because it complicates it. The price tags on the shelves are low, meaning that it targets the neighborhoods with the low-income community, especially the society of Black individuals, thus discouraging the healthy eating options, especially the groceries. This also contributes to the economic anguish because it eliminates the local jobs. The location of these stores is not in the city but the rural town. In my view, the stores develop faster because it has a lot of consumers, and their unchecked development harms the community. The groceries and the local retail in the area did not have the buyers meaning that the store is the most significant competitor to these groceries even though it does not offer any.

The other store had other items apart from household items, toys, and fast-food products. In the food section, it provided frozen meat and fresh produces. It had several choices. The store had a lesser quantity of food desert, and several individuals from the local community were employed in the store. I also observed that the consumers were free to bargain from the store. This offered the store a higher rating. I learned that the store engages positively with the local community, and it has a community support concept that caters to charitable contributions.

Despite the great offers in the store, it has some disadvantages. I learned that the store was not good for the society it was located in. Society was already struggling to inspire the development of grocery store which offers healthy and fresh produce. Accessing fresh items leads to better outcomes for societies (Laska et al., 2018). Even though the store had fewer items of chips and Twinkies, it was a competitor of the grocery. It sells the fresh produce offered in the groceries; thus, the groceries lack a market for the products thus having a minor incentive to develop in the community.

Other products on the store shelves were expired, and other merchandises were defective. The store also increases segregation, and the products offered are of low quality. The store employs individuals in the local community, and it does not pay them well. In my view, the store’s growth is due to poor economic circumstances. The store has an unjust advantage over the local groceries, thus eliminating going to the grocery store. This initiates the competition in the community. The community also becomes less appealing because property values drop because the people with greater incomes leave the society.


Chenarides, L., Cho, C., Nayga Jr, R. M., & Thomsen, M. R. (2021). Dollar stores and food deserts. Applied Geography, 134, 102497. 

Laska, M. N., Sindberg, L. S., Ayala, G. X., D’Angelo, H., Horton, L. A., Ribisl, K. M., … & Gittelsohn, J. (2018). Agreements between small food store retailers and their suppliers: Incentivizing unhealthy foods and beverages in four urban settings. Food Policy, 79, 324-330. 

Euridice Nobre 

Family Dollar vs. Walmart

At the Family Dollar store I visited, shoppers can find almost everything they need, from household products to everyday groceries in small sizes. For instance, in the food section, various foods were displayed, including but not limited to cereal, produce, cookies, ice creams, and soups. I noticed that the selection of brands was limited. Still, items were more affordable to the community than at the Walmart store located about one mile away within the same neighborhood.

Although Family Dollar had a fewer variety of products, there were less expensive than the Walmart store. As far as sizes, Family Dollar offers smaller sizes, which are more convenient for people shopping for smaller families or single-use, e.g., Campbell soup for single-use, amongst many other products. Family Dollar store’s brand was also cheaper than Walmart’s brand. Overall, small stores such as Family Dollar not only benefit families with low-income but are also convenient for small families. The family Dollar store I visited is strategically located to increase access to low-income communities.

On the other hand, the Walmart store has more healthy choices, i.e., fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious groceries. The main disadvantages of Family Dollar stores are that they offer low-quality, unhealthy foods (Schwartz, 2020). According to Caspi et al. (2017), purchases at small/non-traditional food stores tend to have poor nutritional quality and have been associated with poor health outcomes, including increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and many other health conditions.

Family Dollar:


Walmart: References

Caspi, C. E., Lenk, K., Pelletier, J. E., Barnes, T. L., Harnack, L., Erickson, D. J., & Laska, M. N. (2017). Association between store food environment and customer purchases in small grocery stores, gas-marts, pharmacies, and dollar stores. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 76-76. 

Schwartz, R. (2020, July 7). The real reason dollar stores can be harmful to communities. 

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