Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2014

Second Advisor

John Van Buren



My thesis examines the health and nutrition conditions in the Bronx, New York and the extent to which this location changes the diet and well-being of Fordham University students who live on or around Rose Hill’s campus. Upon entering college, there are undoubtedly social and personal changes as young adults gain independence from their parents and forge their own path. Once parents stop stocking the fridge and students are forced to make their own choices when it comes to food and diet, there are often drastic changes made. In addition, many students’ activities levels will vary in college as school sports may take a back seat to academics. On the contrary, college athletes find themselves training and exercising even more rigorously. To complicate matters further, Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, New York makes healthy living even more challenging with a pizza place on every block, snack-filled bodegas on every corner, and less-than-adequate grocery stores. Since there are so many factors involved, this thesis discovers why the Bronx has become an urban food desert, the extent to which students are affected by their location in the Bronx, and what can be done to improve nutritional conditions in this area and other low-income neighborhoods across the country.

In addressing this topic, the three disciplines used are environmental history of the Bronx and Fordham College at Rose Hill, environmental economics contributing to the issue, and public health policies in the United States that encourage healthy habits. Fordham University students were surveyed to get their input on diet, exercise, health, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, information is presented on the lack of nutritious dining options available near Fordham’s campus and explanations as to why urban areas experience nutrition disparities. Although government interventions have attempted to make New Yorkers healthier by implementing public policy, these attempts have fallen short. My thesis purposes plausible and effective solutions for food deserts across the country.