Food Deserts and Effects

History

A food desert is a geographic district with limited access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. For those living in food deserts, the physical barrier often caused by unreliable or expensive transportation severely restricts the quality and variety of food purchased as well as the frequency of trips to the grocery store. As a result, residents of these areas regularly purchase items from convenience stores and fast food restaurants where healthy options are limited and sold at a notably higher price.

Research shows that access to affordable, healthy food is a major predictor of childhood obesity and diabetes. Accordingly, studies in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine have shown that increased access to fresh foods and produce can reduce rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. In addition, supermarket access can increase fruit and vegetable consumption by 32%. This contributes to a more well-rounded and nutritive diet and helps to offset the physical and financial burden of chronic diet-related illness.

For more information on food security, please visit the following websites:
http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story028/en/
http://www.fooddesert.net/
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=FOOD_SECURITY