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  1. “Food deserts” are geographic areas where access to affordable, healthy food options (aka fresh fruits and veggies) is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away. Run a food drive (outside your local grocery store!) to support a food bank. Sign up for Supermarket Stakeout.
  2. About 23.5 million people live in food deserts. Nearly half of them are also low-income.
  3. Approximately 2.3 million people (2.2% of all US households) live in low-income, rural areas that are more than 10 miles from a supermarket.
  4. Food deserts may be under-reported because the North American Industry Classification System places small corner grocery stores (which often primarily sell packaged food) in the same category as grocery stores like Safeway and Whole Foods.
  5. Residents living in food deserts also have a hard time finding foods that are culturally relevant and that meet their dietary restrictions.

Collect food outside your supermarket for a local food bank.

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  1. First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity, “Let’s Move,” has a goal of eradicating food deserts by 2017.
  2. There is a $400 million investment from the government towards this initiative, which will go towards providing tax breaks for supermarkets that open in food deserts.
  3. You can find food deserts near you with the USDA’s new food desert locator map.
  4. People living in the poorest SES (social-economic status) areas have 2.5 times the exposure to fast-food restaurants as those living in the wealthiest areas.
  5. With limited options, many people living in food deserts get meals from fast-food restaurants.
  6. Food insecurity has a high correlation with increased diabetes rates. In Chicago, the death rate from diabetes in a food desert is twice that of areas with access to grocery stores.

Sources

  • 1

    United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” United States Department of Agriculture, 2009. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 2

    United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” United States Department of Agriculture, 2009. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 3

    United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” United States Department of Agriculture, 2009. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 4

    North American Industrial Classifications System. "2007 NAICS Definition: 445110 Supermarkets and Other Grocery (except Convenience) Stores." US Census Bureau, 2007. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 5

    White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity in a Generation." 2010. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 6

    White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity in a Generation." 2010. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 7

    White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity. "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity in a Generation." 2010. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 8

    United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. "Food Access Research Atlas.” United States Department of Agriculture, 2010. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 9

    Yeh, Ming-Chen and David L. Katz. "Food, Nutrition, and the Health of Urban Populations." In Cities and the Health of the Public, 2006. Web Accessed May 8, 2015.

  • 10

    United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences.” United States Department of Agriculture, 2009. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

  • 11

    Curry, Andrew. “Bringing Healthy Fare to Big-City ‘Food Deserts.'” Diabetes Forecast, 2009. Web Accessed February 23, 2015.

Collect food outside your supermarket for a local food bank.

DO IT