What Is A Food Dessert

Food deserts: Definition, effects, and solutions

Food deserts are areas in which individuals have limited access to nutritious and inexpensive food due to geographical limitations. This might be due to a lack of financial resources or the need to go further to locate nutritious meal alternatives. People who live in food deserts may be at increased risk for diet-related illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease because they lack access to nutritious foods. Multiple government agencies are currently sponsoring efforts to prevent regions from becoming food deserts as well as to enhance people’s access to food in areas that have already been declared food deserts by the USDA.

Areas where individuals have limited access to a range of nutritious foods are referred to as food deserts.

The USDA defines a food desert as an area where the poverty rate is greater than or equal to 20 percent, or where the median family income does not exceed 80 percent of the median family income in urban areas, or 80 percent of the statewide median family income in nonurban areas, as defined by the federal government.

In metropolitan areas, at least 500 persons, or 33 percent of the population, must reside more than one mile from the nearest big food store in order for the requirement to be met.

Between 2000 and 2006, the USDA identified approximately 6,500 food deserts.

11.5 million of these persons have poor incomes, making about a quarter of the total.

  • Populations that are either extremely huge or extremely sparse
  • Low income
  • Significant levels of unemployment
  • Insufficient access to transportation
  • A small number of food shops that provide fresh produce at a reasonable price

The survey also points out that rural areas in the Western, Midwest, and Southern regions of the United States are far more likely than rural areas in the Northeast to be classified as food deserts. This may be due to the fact that rural regions in the Northeast tend to be closer to metropolitan areas where food shops may be found. According to the analysis, rural regions with expanding people may be at a lesser risk of becoming food deserts in the near future. Experts have not yet achieved a consensus on the features of the populations who live in food deserts, which is a significant problem.

Researchers have found that some low-income districts have a higher number of food stores and that they reside closer to these stores than persons from wealthier backgrounds, according to the analysis.

It is the absence of mobility in rural regions that is the most important predictor of food insecurity.

Furthermore, because experts have not established a consensus on the features of communities impacted by food deserts, additional study is required.

Such analyses may aid policymakers in identifying places that are at danger of becoming food deserts, allowing them to put in place measures to improve access to nutritious foods. Maintaining a nutritious diet entails the following steps:

  • Consuming a diverse range of foods from all dietary categories while keeping calorie consumption under control, minimizing intake of saturated and trans fatty acids, added sweets, and excess salt is recommended.

Foods that are considered healthy by the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include the following ingredients:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Protein-rich meals, such as:
  • Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, and soy products are all good choices.

It is possible that people who live in food deserts have restricted access to supermarkets and other food shops that sell nutritious and reasonably priced items. Healthful meals are sometimes available in convenience stores and tiny grocery stores; nevertheless, they are frequently out of reach for persons on a fixed budget. People who live in food deserts may consequently be more reliant on food merchants or fast food restaurants that offer a more cheap but limited choice of items to supplement their diet.

As a result, diet-related diseases such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease might occur more frequently.

  • It is possible that people who live in food deserts have limited access to supermarkets and other food shops that provide nutritious and reasonably priced items in their area. Healthful meals are sometimes available in convenience stores and tiny grocery stores
  • Nevertheless, they are sometimes out of reach for persons on a limited budget. Therefore, those who live in food deserts may be more reliant on food merchants or fast food restaurants, which may provide a more cheap but restricted selection of meals. Sugar, salt, and unhealthful fats may be consumed in large quantities due to a lack of availability to healthy foods and the ease with which fast food may be obtained. A diet-related disorder such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease might result as a result of this behavior. In some cases, living in a food desert can have negative health consequences, including as

It is possible that people who live in food deserts have restricted access to supermarkets and other food shops that provide nutritious and inexpensive items. Even when convenience stores and small grocers carry nutritious items, they are frequently out of reach for individuals on fixed incomes. People who live in food deserts may be more reliant on food merchants or fast food restaurants that provide a more inexpensive but limited choice of meals. Poor diets that are heavy in sugar, salt, and unhealthful fats may be connected to a lack of availability to healthy foods and the ease with which fast food may be obtained.

Living in a food desert has a number of negative health consequences, including the following:

Food swamps

People who live in food deserts may have restricted access to supermarkets and other food shops that sell nutritious and reasonably priced goods. Even when convenience stores and small grocers carry nutritious items, they are frequently out of reach for persons on a fixed budget. People who live in food deserts may be more reliant on food merchants or fast food restaurants that offer a more inexpensive but limited choice of meals. Poor diets that are heavy in sugar, salt, and unhealthful fats may be connected to a lack of availability to nutritious foods as well as easy access to fast food.

Some of the negative health consequences of living in a food desert include:

Food mirages

A food mirage is a term used to describe a situation in which individuals live in close proximity to grocery shops that provide a range of nutritious foods but are unable to buy such goods. As a result, people must go further to acquire nutritious foods that are also within their financial means.

Food insecurity

Food insecurity is defined as having restricted or insecure access to food as a result of a lack of financial resources. Families and individuals with limited financial resources may find it difficult to buy nutritious diets. In the United States, policymakers are actively seeking ways to enhance access to nutritious meals in food deserts around the country. The Community Food Programs Competitive Grant Program provides funding for long-term food projects that assist low-income communities in gaining access to nutritious and culturally appropriate diets and lifestyles.

These initiatives also address a larger range of economic, social, and environmental challenges that are associated with the food distribution system. Among the concerns that the Community Food Projects hope to solve are the following:

  • Increasing the availability of nutritious, locally sourced meals by implementing the following strategies:
  • Affordably priced grocery stores and marketplaces, as well as backyard and community gardens, as well as food aid programs
  • Encouraging healthy eating habits by providing education and training on food production, preparation, and nutrition
  • Enrolling eligible residents in government nutrition programs
  • Increasing access to local farmers markets
  • Promoting safe and fair farm worker conditions
  • Supporting sustainable agricultural practices that protect the environment, water supply, and habitats
  • Assisting food industry entrepreneurs
  • Celebrating and honoring diverse food cultures
  • Encouraging resiliency in the face of adversity

encouraging healthy eating habits by providing education and training on food production, preparation, and nutrition; enrolling eligible residents in government nutrition programs; increasing access to local farmers markets; promoting safe and fair farm worker conditions; supporting sustainable agricultural practices that protect the environment, water supply, and habitats; assisting food industry entrepreneurs; celebrating and honoring diverse food cultures; encouraging re-entry into the food industry

Food Deserts*

In recognition of the problem with the term “food desert,” which according to the USDA is defined primarily by proximity to food providers without taking into account other factors such as racism, cost of living, people being time and cash poor, cultural appropriateness of available foods, people’s ability to grow their own foods and so on, the Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.) has developed a model that takes into account all of these factors.

  1. Food Apartheid and Food Oppression are more appropriate phrases, according to the Food and Environment Project, but because food desert is the term that is most widely used, we have chosen to use it as our title.
  2. The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture recently issued a report for Congress that found that 2.3 million persons (or 2.2 percent of all US families) live more than one mile distant from a supermarket and do not have access to a vehicle.
  3. However, economic forces have driven grocery stores out of many cities in recent years, making them so few and far between that a single person’s food shopping trip may require taking multiple buses or trains.
  4. As demonstrated by the Food Empowerment Project’s study, “Shining a Light on the Valley of Heart’s Delight(PDF),” it is easy to ignore towns that are located in food deserts when depending solely on statistics gathered by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Thus, a municipality with no supermarket and just two corner grocery stores that sell booze and food would be considered to have two retail food outlets, even though the variety of foods served may be relatively restricted and consist primarily of fast food.” Residents of food deserts may also have difficulty locating foods that are culturally appropriate for them, and dietary restrictions, such as lactose intolerance, gluten allergies, and other food sensitivities, may limit the food options available to those who do not have access to larger chain stores that offer a wider variety of foods and ingredients.

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In addition, research have indicated that urban residents who shop for food at small neighborhood businesses spend between 3 and 37 percent more than suburbanites who shop for the same things at supermarkets, depending on the commodity.

For example, whereas the total price of fruits and vegetables in the United States climbed by over 75% between 1989 and 2005, the overall price of fatty meals decreased by more than 26% during the same period.

While unhealthy eating may be economically cheaper in the short-term, the consequences of long-term constrained access to healthy foods is one of the main reasons that ethnic minority and low-income populations suffer from statistically higher rates of obesity,type 2 diabetes,cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions than the general population.

Only twenty years ago, type 2 diabetes was almost unknown among those under the age of 40.

Among recent years, the incidence of type 2 diabetes has increased across all demographic groups; however, the highest increases have been seen in black and brown populations.

These are also the populations that are most likely to live in food deserts, and studies have shown a clear link between food insecurity and an increase in the number of people who develop diabetes.

In order to explain this discrepancy, researchers emphasize that the high-calorie foods that are most readily available in food deserts put residents living in these areas at greater risk for diabetes in the first place, and that having limited access to healthy foods also makes it more difficult for them to manage diabetes once they are diagnosed with the disease.

One of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease is a diet rich in unhealthy fats and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is characterised by the sorts of food that are typically accessible in food desert areas.

As a result of the higher incidence of obesity in food desert regions, even children and adolescents living in those areas are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (both now and when they reach maturity), according to the American Heart Association.

As part of the “Let’s Move” campaign to address childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama has set a goal of eliminating food deserts by 2017, with a $400 million government investment centered on granting tax benefits to supermarkets that establish in low-income neighborhoods as a part of the program.

Chicago– In food deserts, more than 500,000 persons (most of whom are African-American) live, and an additional 400,000 live in communities where there are a disproportionate number of fast food businesses and no grocery stores nearby.

Along with offering fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, bulk whole grains and beans, and soy-based meat substitutes, some of these stores (such as Fresh Family Foods, located on the city’s South Side) also provide cooking and nutrition classes to educate the public about making nutritious food choices.

  1. Because fewer fast food restaurants were available, there was a greater demand for more and better food options.
  2. So far, these measures have been successful in bringing the first new grocery to South L.A.
  3. New York City is a city that has a lot of things to offer.
  4. Increased rents and shrinking profit margins have caused supermarkets throughout New York City to close in recent years.
  5. Since 2008, the city has been operating its Green Carts initiative, which has been distributing inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables to impoverished communities while also offering employment opportunities for vendor participants.
  6. What can I do if I live in an area where there is no access to food?
  7. To begin, it’s a good idea to talk about alternative choices, such as producing your own food or collaborating with local businesses to provide healthy, vegan meals.

You can also contact out to others who have worked on this subject if you want to learn more.

The Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture published a report in 2009 titled Bryan provided this information on August 25, 2017.

“Neighborhood features linked with the location of food shops and food service establishments,” by K., S.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published its first issue in January 2002, with pages 23-29.

(Robert D.) (editor).

173.ttp: The following URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=NAcmSchlTOYC pg=PA173 lpg=PA173 dq=It+has–been+shown.

The date is June 12, 2008.

The LaSalle Bank commissioned the research.

” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2 diabetes: Causes.” CDC National Center for Health Statistics.

and Mortality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2011 Diabetes Fact Sheet from the Mayo Clinic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing among children and teenagers.

According to a report published on December 6, 2017, the number of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing among children and teenagers.

Basics was accessed on the 6th of December, 2017.” The American Diabetes Association has a website.

“Bringing Healthy Fare to Big-City ‘Food Deserts.’ Diabetes Predictions for December 2009.

and Mortality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

Publications of the Harvard School of Public Health, 2015.

The Office of Minority Health.

lvlid=19(3/05/11) The Office of Minority Health.

Obesity.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report in 2008 titled “Everyone took a stand.” The White House Blog, published on February 20, 2010.

“Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago,” a research project in which The study was commissioned by LaSalle Bank and completed in 2006.

“Would a Walmart be able to alleviate the food insecurity issues in West Oakland and Nashville?” The Los Angeles Times, 5 October 2010.

Kim.

The New York Times, August 12, 2008.

The New York Times published an article on January 15, 2011.

A report published in The New York Times on March 20, 2009, with the sq=food percent 20deserts st=cse(4/02/11).

“Measuring food deserts in New York City’s low-income areas,” New York City Department of City Planning, 2008.

“Measuring food deserts in New York City’s low-income communities.” Page 697 to 700 in Health Place, March 2011. Vol. 17(2), page 697 to 700. Jeff. “Can other cities follow New York’s lead in introducing vegetable carts into food deserts?” The New York Times published an article on March 11, 2010.

Exploring America’s Food Deserts

The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a notice on February 13, 2021.

What is a food desert?

The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a statement on February 13, 2021.

Where are food deserts located?

Food deserts are more likely in places that have the following characteristics:

  • Smaller populations
  • Greater rates of abandoned or unoccupied dwellings
  • Inhabitants with lower levels of education, lower incomes, and higher rates of unemployment
  • And residents with lower levels of education, lower incomes, and higher rates of unemployment

According to a 2014 research conducted by Johns Hopkins University, food deserts are also a disproportionate reality for Black communities in the United States. The study compared census tracts in the United States with similar poverty levels and discovered that, in urban areas, Black communities had the fewest supermarkets, while white communities had the most, and multiracial communities fell in the middle of the supermarket count spectrum, according to the findings.

How are food deserts identified?

Moreover, a 2014 research conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that food deserts affect Black neighborhoods disproportionately. After comparing census tracts with identical poverty levels across the United States, it was determined in metropolitan areas that Black neighborhoods had the fewest supermarkets, white communities had the most, and mixed communities lay in the center of this spectrum.

  • Access to food, as measured by the distance between a store and a residence or by the number of stores in a neighborhood
  • Resources available to a household, such as family income or the availability of a vehicle
  • Resource availability in the area, such as the average income of residents and the availability of public transit

One method used by the United States Department of Agriculture to identify food deserts is to look for census tracts with low income and limited access to food. To go to the nearest supermarket or food shop in low-access census tracts, a considerable proportion of inhabitants (33 percent or more) must drive an unpleasant distance (at least 1 mile in urban areas and 10 miles in rural areas). In low-income census tracts, the local poverty rate is at least 20%, and the median family income is at most 80% of the statewide median family income, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Mapping food deserts in the United States

The Food at Home study by Enterprise Community Partners is the source of this information.

How many Americans live in food deserts?

According to the USDA’s most recent food access study report, released in 2017, about 39.5 million people — or 12.8 percent of the country’s population — were living in low-income and low-access regions. There were 19 million persons in this category, according to the researchers, accounting for 6.2 percent of the nation’s total population who did not have easy access to a supermarket or grocery store.

Why do food deserts exist?

There is no one cause of food deserts, although there are a number of variables that contribute to their occurrence. Among these are:

  • Low-income households are less likely than other families to have dependable transportation, which might prohibit people from going greater distances to shop for goods. Small corner stores, convenience markets, and fast food vendors are more common in low-income neighborhoods, which provide less nutritious food alternatives for residents. An additional risk is associated with the establishment of a supermarket or food store chain, and this risk might develop to prohibitive proportions in low-income communities. As an illustration: Over the course of a month, the spending power of consumers in these neighborhoods — which includes families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — might fluctuate drastically. A business’s insurance expenses and security expenditures might be increased as a result of the prospect of increased crime rates, whether genuine or perceived. Inequality of income – Healthy food is more expensive. The healthiest diets — those consisting primarily of vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts — were found to be on average $1.50 per day more expensive per day than diets consisting primarily of processed foods, meat, and refined grains, according to a study conducted by researchers from Brown University and Harvard University. Nutritious food may be out of reach for some families that live paycheck to paycheck because of the greater expense of healthy food, even when it is easily available.
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How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted food access?

Even more hurdles — both logistical and financial — were introduced into the already complicated sector of food availability as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. Restaurants, corner stores, and food markets, among other businesses, were forced to lock their doors or decrease their operation hours as the number of COVID-19 instances increased across the country. For those who depended on public transit to get food, there were extra obstacles to overcome, including increased travel limits and reduced service schedules.

According to the Brookings Institution’s Fall 2020 food insecurity update, over 10% of parents with just young children — children aged five and under — reported having inadequate food for their family and insufficient means to acquire more food.

What solutions to food deserts can be pursued?

Eating habits and patterns are affected by environmental, policy, and human variables, according to Joel Gittelsohn, a public health specialist at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in chronic disease prevention and management. Some techniques for relieving food desert situations exist within this complicated environment, and they are as follows:

  • According to Joel Gittelsohn, a public health specialist at Johns Hopkins University, environmental, policy, and individual variables influence eating habits and patterns – both individually and collectively. Food desert alleviation measures may be implemented in a variety of contexts within this complicated environment, including:

Casey Foundation resources on food insecurity and food access

Among the issues addressed in theKids, Families, and COVID-19KIDS COUNT ®policy study are pandemic pain points such as an increase in food poverty across the country. Casey Foundation-funded report Food at Home examines the possibility of utilizing inexpensive housing as a platform to solve nutritional issues. Among the topics covered in the booklet are food deserts and their impact on communities around the United States. According to a September 2019 Data Snapshot, there are many actions that leaders may take to assist families living in high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods to succeed.

What Are Food Deserts?

What you eat, and how much of it you consume, can have a significant influence on your long-term health. Healthy eating habits are essential in the prevention of a wide range of diseases. Healthy eating guidelines have been in place for decades, encouraging families to consume more healthy meals such as fruits and vegetables while avoiding junk or processed foods such as chips and fast restaurant cheeseburgers. Elvis Batiz / Photo courtesy of Flickr However, for many families in the United States, things are not quite so straightforward.

These places, which are referred to as food deserts, are a severe environmental health concern that can have long-term consequences for the lives of families.

Definition

Long-term health is greatly affected by what you eat and how much you eat. To avoid a lengthy number of diseases, it is necessary to maintain healthy eating habits. For decades, health professionals have urged families to consume more healthy meals such as fruits and vegetables while avoiding junk or processed foods such as potato chips and fast restaurant cheeseburgers, among other things. Elvis Batiz is a photographer who uses Flickr. It is not, however, so straightforward for many families in the United States.

They are known as food deserts and are a severe environmental health concern that can have long-term effects on the lives of entire communities.

Locations

When most public health professionals talk about food deserts, they’re usually talking to metropolitan surroundings – inner cities, for example, where higher land prices might deter many potential grocers from setting up shop there. However, whereas metropolitan regions account for around 82 percent of all food deserts, rural towns are not entirely exempt. As reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), around 335,000 people in the country live more than 20 miles from a supermarket.

Food deserts are more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods, which are often the worst harmed by them.

According to the USDA, over half of all low-income zip codes (i.e., those with a median income of less than $25,000) qualify as food deserts.

Who Lives There

Low-income folks, particularly those who do not have access to a vehicle or who reside in distant rural locations, frequently have the most difficulty obtaining nutritious foods. For these folks, acquiring nutritious foods necessitates a longer drive to obtain them. That is, of course, assuming that driving is even an option at this point. According to the USDA, more than two million households living in food deserts do not have access to a motor vehicle. The cost of groceries is higher for residents of urban food deserts than for households living in the suburbs.

Despite the fact that lower-income families already devote a bigger proportion of their income to food purchases, living in a food desert implies that a salary will not stretch nearly as far as it would in locations where fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are more readily available.

Food deserts are also more likely than other locations to have the following characteristics:

  • More minority residents
  • Higher rates of unoccupied dwellings
  • Higher rates of unemployment
  • Lower levels of education among residents
  • Smaller population sizes.

Higher concentrations of ethnic people; higher rates of unoccupied dwellings; higher unemployment rates; lower levels of education among residents; smaller population sizes

Impact on Health

Ironically, obesity is the most serious public health risk associated with food deserts. Given the fact that those who don’t have easy access to good foods are more likely to eat less healthfully than those who do, this makes sense. A person’s weight increases as a result of poor eating habits, which in turn leads to obesity. Being considerably overweight or obese raises a person’s risk for a wide range of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, among other things.

  • Excessive weight may even raise your chance of developing cancer, according to one study, which estimated that 481,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed globally in 2012 as a result of being overweight or obese.
  • Aside from obesity, poor eating habits throughout a kid’s first few years of life can have a substantial impact on the ability of the child to develop.
  • Nutritional deficiencies in nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and iodine have been associated to cognitive issues, weakened immune systems, and stunted growth in children and adolescents.
  • The chance of having a child born with potentially catastrophic birth abnormalities increases for babies born to mothers who do not obtain enough folate throughout the first trimester of their pregnancy.
  • Another issue that is sometimes disregarded when discussing food deserts is the danger they bring to people who have dietary restrictions or food allergies.
  • In the United States, around 200,000 people require emergency medical care each year after inhaling or drinking something they are allergic to.
  • Even while studies have identified substantial associations between a lack of supermarkets and health problems like as obesity, current research is beginning to suggest that the relationship may be far more convoluted than previously thought.

Low income and low educational attainment have also been associated to obesity outside of the setting of food deserts, and some recent research has suggested that socioeconomic status may be a more relevant factor in nutritional outcomes than access to a grocery store in some situations.

What Can Be Done?

Food deserts have been on the radar of public health departments for some time now, and many have already begun implementing strategies and policies to deliver fresh fruit and other nutritious foods to areas that are currently without access to these resources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises numerous ways to address and avoid food deserts, including:

  • Creating communal gardens
  • Establishing local farmers markets
  • And other initiatives Increasing public transit options from food deserts to established markets. Changing municipal laws and tax rules in order to encourage supermarkets and other healthy food shops to open their doors

• establishing local farmers markets; • establishing communal gardens. Increasing public transit options from food deserts to established markets; The rewriting of municipal laws and tax rules in order to encourage supermarkets and other healthy food shops to open their doors;

Food Deserts vs. Food Swamps

Following the revelations concerning food deserts, some nutritional gap researchers are moving their attention away from a lack of healthy food alternatives and toward an abundance of bad food options instead. These locations, which have been termed “food swamps,” are not only devoid of grocery shops, but they are also densely packed with fast food restaurants and convenience stores. These locations have been associated to worse diets, and the existence of these places may be an even better predictor of obesity rates than the absence of supermarkets, since the in-your-face availability of bad food alternatives effectively negates any benefits that an increase in grocery shops may provide.

While some communities have focused their efforts on attracting grocery shops, others have attempted to go where people already buy for groceries, encouraging corner stores and petrol stations to devote more shelf space to inexpensive, fresh fruit.

A Word From Verywell

In light of what we now know about food deserts, some nutritional gap researchers are moving their attention away from a lack of good food alternatives and toward an excess of harmful ones. Known as “food swamps,” these regions are not only devoid of grocery shops, but they are also densely packed with fast food restaurants and convenience stores. These locations have been associated to worse diets, and the existence of these places may be an even better predictor of obesity rates than the absence of supermarkets, since the in-your-face availability of bad food alternatives effectively negates any benefits that an increase in grocery shops may provide.

To entice grocery retailers, several communities have attempted to go to where people already buy for groceries, such as corner stores and petrol stations, and encourage them to stock more cheap, fresh food on their shelves.

Another option is to put up mobile farmers’ markets that look like food trucks that can be driven out to hard-to-reach places so that locals don’t have to go out of their way to get nutritious food.

What is a Food Desert?

If a desert is defined as a place where water is difficult to come by, a food desert is defined as a place where nutritious food is difficult to come by. The availability of nutritious foods in one’s surrounding area from sources such as supermarkets, farmers markets, and community gardens has an impact on one’s dietary choices and the amount of food one consumes each day. The consumption of these nutritious meals can lower one’s risk of obesity and diet-related disorders, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer (SmithMiller, 2011).

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Residents rely more on convenience stores and fast food restaurants for their food supplies because there are no supermarkets close by to purchase food (Spence, Cutumisu, Edwards, Raine,Smoyer-Tomie, 2009).

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a census tract is considered a food desert if it fits both of the following criteria (USDA, 2014a):

  1. Low-income community defined as one with a poverty rate of 20% or more, or a median family income that is at or below 80% of the statewide median family income, or both. The term “low-access community” refers to urban census tracts with more than 33% of the population living more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store, or rural census tracts (geographic region with 1,000 to 8,000 people) that are more than ten miles from a supermarket or large grocery store.

The Census Bureau’s 2010 food desert research differed from the USDA’s established definition, which is detailed above. It is necessary for 40 percent of the population to have an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty levels for family size in order to qualify as a low-income neighborhood (Ver Ploeg et al., 2012). According to the other low-income classification, 29.7 million individuals reside in low-income census tracts that are more than one mile away from a supermarket, which is noteworthy.

Food deserts in the United States have been identified by the government, which has created a map of neighborhoods that have inadequate access to nutritious food options (USDA, 2014b).

Nevada State

  • It was discovered that food deserts exist in 40 of the state’s 687 census tracts
  • 154,623 Nevadans fit the requirements for living in a low-income food desert. People who live in a food desert in Nevada are overwhelmingly concentrated in metropolitan areas, with only 11 percent residing in rural regions.

Nevada census tracts are depicted on the Food Desert Locator map. The green census tracks represent low-income communities that are in a food desert because they do not have easy access to a supermarket or a major grocery store. (Revised in May 2014)

Consequences of Food Deserts Those

Living in a food desert may mean that you have fewer options for obtaining fruits and vegetables, and as a result, you may have difficulty meeting the Guidelines for Americans 2010, which recommend that you consume three or more fruits and vegetables daily, particularly dark-green and red and orange vegetables (USDA, 2010). Furthermore, people of food deserts who eat convenience store goods have diets that are heavy in sugar, fat, and salt, and low in whole grains and vegetables (Johns Hopkins Public Health, 2014).

These diets are related with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of mortality in the United States, as well as diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and increased weight gain and obesity, among other health problems (Spence, Cutumisu, Edwards, Raine,Smoyer-Tomie, 2009).

Influential Factors of Food Deserts

Another element impacting food purchases is the consumer’s neighborhood retail environment, which includes factors such as proximity to a supermarket and availability to public transit. Pricing, quality, variety, preparation time, where people buy, and the availability of culturally acceptable meals all have an influence on what foods people purchase and the possibility of a food desert developing in their community (Odoms-Young, Zenk,Mason, 2009 and Alkon, et al. 2013). Despite the fact that study results are inconsistent, we are acquiring a better knowledge of which aspects are most significant when making food purchasing decisions.

  1. It is possible that one mile is comprised of 20 blocks, and that this does not represent a “reasonable shopping distance” for the elderly, families with children, or individuals who are physically impaired.
  2. In order to prepare for this, rural inhabitants frequently stock up on nonperishable goods at huge retailers such as Costco.
  3. In fact, persons who live in low-income food desert areas who carpool account for 93 percent of the total (Ver Ploeg et al., 2012).
  4. Only 23% of consumers indicated closeness to their house as an essential factor in their purchasing decision (Nielsen, 2007).
  5. For example, small food retail sellers specialized in bread, cheese, meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables may still be found in certain big cities, such as New York, despite the city’s population growth.
  6. In the past, individuals who lived in rural regions supplemented their food supplies with produce from their own gardens.
  7. Consider that at the conclusion of World War II, an incredible 40% of all fresh vegetables consumed in the United States were grown in backyard gardens and community gardens (BrownJameton, 2000).
  8. However, these alternative food sources are in decline (SmithMiller, 2011).

The time available for food preparation diminishes even further in single-parent families and households where both parents work, hence increasing the likelihood that fast-food meals will be consumed (Smith, Ng,Popkin, 2013).

Potential Strategies

An further element impacting food purchases is the consumer’s local retail environment, which includes factors such as proximity to a supermarket and availability to public transit. Pricing, quality, variety, preparation time, where people buy, and the availability of culturally acceptable meals all have an influence on what foods people purchase and the possibility of a food desert developing in their area (Odoms-Young, Zenk,Mason, 2009 and Alkon, et al. 2013). Despite the fact that study findings differ, we are acquiring a better grasp of the elements that influence food purchasing decisions.

  • It is possible that one mile is comprised of 20 blocks, and that this does not represent a “reasonable shopping distance” for the elderly, families with children, or physically handicapped individuals.
  • In order to prepare for this, rural inhabitants frequently stock up on nonperishable goods at huge retailers such as Costco and Walmart.
  • People who reside in low-income food desert regions who carpool account for 93 percent of the total (Ver Ploeg et al., 2012).
  • Only 23% of consumers indicated proximity to their house as an essential factor in their purchase decision (Nielsen, 2007).
  • For example, local food retail sellers specialized in bread, cheese, meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables may still be found in certain metropolitan cities, such as New York, despite the proliferation of huge food retailers.
  • Folks in rural regions used to supplement their food supplies with produce from their own gardens in the olden days.
  • Consider that at the conclusion of World War II, an astounding 40% of all fresh vegetables consumed in the United States were grown in backyard gardens and community gardens (BrownJameton, 2000).

As a result, time available for food preparation diminishes in single-parent families and households where both parents work, increasing the likelihood that fast-food meals are consumed (Smith, Ng,Popkin, 2013).

  1. Residents should be instructed on how to cultivate their own food. Programs such as Grow Yourself Healthy, Food for Thoughts, and Master Gardener are available via the Cooperative Extension of the University of Nevada, Reno. Farmers markets should be encouraged to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because of the high prevalence of poverty in food deserts. Increasing demand for locally grown small farm products by linking farmers with consumers such as local restaurants and farmers markets is a significant component of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Nutrition Action Plan. Among the many successful examples is the Producer to Chef Program offered by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Encourage donations to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada’s mobile van, which provides nutritious, free foods to underserved neighborhoods. In order to introduce private-owned supermarkets to underserved communities, public-private cooperation agreements should be established. Make it a priority to cultivate healthy food options in local neighborhoods where residents shop for groceries, such as by offering financial incentives to convenience stores to stock high-quality, culturally appropriate, and reasonably priced fruits and vegetables in ready-to-eat packaging, among other initiatives. The nutritional content of healthy foods must be comparable to the nutritional value of salty, highfat snack foods.

Fresh local produce is transported to regions in need via a mobile van that delivers nutritious, complimentary cuisine.

References

Brown, K.H., Jameton, A.L., and others (2000). The consequences of urban agriculture for public health. J Public Health Policy, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 20-39. P. Dutko, M. Ver Ploeg, and T. Farrigan have published a paper in Nature Communications (2012). Food deserts have distinct characteristics, as well as influencing variables. USDA Economic Research Service Report N. 140. USDA Economic Research Service Report N. 140. Odoms-Young A.M., Zenk S., Mason M., Odoms-Young A.M. (2009). The implications of measuring food availability and access in African-American neighborhoods for intervention and policy are discussed.

S145-S150.

According to Nielsen Reports, the best value is the most important factor in determining which grocery store to shop at in the United States.

Spence, J.C., Cutumisu, N., Edwards, J., Raine, K.D., Smoyer-Tomie, K., Cutumisu, N., Edwards, J., Raine, K.D., Spence, J.C.

The relationship between local food contexts and adult obesity has been established.

Smith, C., and Miller, H.

Making a connection with Minnesota’s food systems in both urban and rural settings 492-501 in J Nutr Educ and Behavior, vol.

492-501.

(2001).

Trends in home food preparation and consumption in the United States: an analysis of national nutrition surveys and time usage studies conducted between 1965 and 2008 Nutrition Journal, 12(45), free and open access Nutrition Journal is a publication dedicated to the study of nutrition.

Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Ver Ploeg, V.

Dutko, R.

Snyder, C.

Kaufman are among those who have contributed to this work (2012, Nov).

Agriculture Department of the United States of America (2014a) Food deserts.

This page was last modified on July 17, 2014. What we cultivate, what we consume, and what we seek are all addressed in the 2014 report by Johns Hopkins Public Health. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Magazine is published bimonthly.

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