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Access to nutritious food, socioeconomic individualism and public health ethics in the USA: a common good approach

Access to nutritious food, socioeconomic individualism and public health ethics in the USA: a common good approach

Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 8: 16

Good nutrition plays an important role in the optimal growth, development, health and well-being of individuals in all stages of life. Healthy eating can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. However, the capitalist mindset that shapes the food environment has led to the commoditization of food. Food is not just a marketable commodity like any other commodity. Food is different from other commodities on the market in that it is explicitly and intrinsically linked to our human existence. While possessing another commodity allows for social benefits, food ensures survival. Millions of people in United States of America are either malnourished or food insecure. The purpose of this paper is to present a critique of the current food system using four meanings of the common good--as a framework, rhetorical device, ethical concept and practical tool for social justice. The first section of this paper provides a general overview of the notion of the common good. The second section outlines how each of the four meanings of the common good helps us understand public practices, social policies and market values that shape the distal causal factors of nutritious food inaccessibility. We then outline policy and empowerment initiatives for nutritious food access.

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Accession: 051322291

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24165577

DOI: 10.1186/1747-5341-8-16

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