By: Alejandro Silva Malines and Jonathan Negrón Rodríguez
Countless of these vending machines are throughout campus. Located in the lobby of one of the most active buildings, these machines have sold countless of treats. As the picture suggests, water fountains are tiny in both the denotative and connotative sense of the word.
Students buy whatever they can to quench their thirst, but prices are horribly unbalanced. Students compared prices and the results were usually the same: they bought the cheaper and unhealthier option. Economics have strong influence in what people buy and thus their health.
Daryl Sanchez is a student in this university who considers himself as obese. Economic issues and a rushed lifestyle, made Daryl resort to unhealthy food. “Well, while I’d like it to be healthier, and when I can, I do aim for healthier meals, because of lack of time and money, it usually ends up being food of the more unhealthy variety, since it is cheaper, easier, and faster to acquire”.
Supermarkets sell vegetables and fruit at expensive prices, almost unreachable. Unhealthier food are often found at cheaper prices and sold in much more quantities. What options do a hard working but underprivileged citizen have?
At the nearest shopping mall of this campus, a total of 7 fast food restaurants lie full everyday. During rush hours, the lines seem endless. Students, professors and many other citizens come visit this food court on daily basis.
Here we see the entrance to one of the restaurants. Vivid colors and appealing Christmas decorations are used to attract customers. Strategies like that are used to attract specifically the teens and the children of the families.
Here we see how attractive the fast food signs are compared to others. Fast food joints arrived and like any cancer, their spread became unstoppable. Some of the signs are colorful and some allude to cultural aspects.
A wide shot of Western Plaza showing the almost ridiculous distance between two fast food restaurants. The fast food epidemic has reached a point where restaurants lie one beside another. “Simply stated, a 1.5-mile decrease in distance to the nearest restaurant is associated with a 0.002 point increase in body mass index.” (Anderson and Matsa)
Not a picture itself, but still incredibly impressive: a map showing how many McDonald’s restaurants are in Puerto Rico, which is a total of 106 restaurants. This fast food restaurant arrived to Puerto Rico in the year 1967. The metropolitan area seems plagued compared to the rest of the island.
Shown here, a regular apple has over a little more of a 100 calories, while the cinnamon role is cheaper it contains over 600 calories. Because fruits are somehow expensive, customers then buy other products.
Pedro Lebrón happily attends customers in his kiosk in La Plaza del Mercado. He talked about the clientele boost during the Holidays. “I’ve been working in this for 35 years and it’s what I love.”
Fresh products from Lebrón’s land. He was merited for his years of service in the agricultural community and labor. In addition to this products being fresh and not imported, they are cheaper.
La Plaza del Mercado is a place where culture and health blend perfectly. While supermarkets have sold their products extremely expensive and other markets have had done the same with other healthy products, la plaza is a good option for buying those products. “The apples are sold at 70 cents each. I can also give you five oranges for 2 dollars and everything is from here, our land.”
To sum up, although most renowned chains of supermarkets and shops sell the fruits and vegetables at a very high price, we have options and la Plaza del Mercado is one. I bought a pound of grapes, five oranges and four apples for only 6 dollars. Not only will you be helping yourself economically and in terms of health but you will also be supporting local businesses.