What is a food desert and why is it important in all of our lives?

The American Nutrition Association defines as “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers”.

They also highlight that the problem with food deserts is that the “are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic.”

 

food-deserts

A map of the food deserts in America. Credit to: USDA

 

This is a key issue for our everyday lives and in politics. Having access to fresh produce and unprocessed foods is imperative to a healthy lifestyle and Michelle Obama fully recognized that when implementing her “Let’s Move” initiative. NBC reported that the initiative worked to expand the availability of nutritious food to food deserts by developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets with fresh and healthy food.

The higher prevalence of obesity among people of lower income and education can be explained by greater consumption of low-cost, high-calorie foods. As obesity rates skyrocket nationally we must fight for issues such as the food desert if we want a healthier America.

featured image credit: Shirley Cannon and the Oddessy

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