Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food-Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress

Administrative Publication No. (AP-036) 160 pp, June 2009

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by Michele Ver Ploeg, Vince Breneman, Tracey Farrigan, Karen Hamrick, David Hopkins, Phillip Kaufman, Biing-Hwan Lin, Mark Nord, Travis A. Smith, Ryan Williams, Kelly Kinnison, Carol Olander, Anita Singh, and Elizabeth Tuckermanty

This report fills a request for a study of food deserts-areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food-from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts. Overall, findings show that a small percentage of consumers are constrained in their ability to access affordable nutritious food because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.

Keywords: Food deserts, food access, supermarkets, grocery stores, food prices, low-income communities, rural areas, urban areas, small towns, transportation, obesity, diet, poverty, policy options

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