What's a Food Desert?

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As full-service grocery stores elect to move out of lower-income neighborhoods, "food deserts" are being created in urban areas.

View this video at whitehouse.gov

Access and affordability are two common and significant obstacles for many families when it comes to providing fresh fruits and vegetables in the home. Not unrelated, obesity is quite common in low-income households. A misconception exists that hungry people should be underweight from undereating. In fact, studies have shown that just the opposite can be true; low-income obese individuals are nutritionally starving themselves, eating junk food and less nutritionally-dense food because it is cheaper and they are able to purchase more for far less money.

Local Efforts

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties targets identified communities suffering from lack of access with its Produce Mobile. These distributions put food where it is needed most.

National Stage

As part of Lets Move!, the campaign to end childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking on food deserts. These nutritional wastelands exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket. Some 23.5 million Americans – including 6.5 million children – currently live in food deserts. Watch the video at the top of the page and learn what the First Lady is doing to help families in these areas across the country.