Learn More: Grocery Store Access

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Variable Definition:
Grocery Store Access: The percentage of individuals who do not live within one mile of a grocery store

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Access Research Atlas
Years Available:
Geographic Unit:
Census Tract

Why is this Variable Important to Measure?

Grocery Store Access
An area is considered a "food desert" when 33 percent of a census tract (or at least 500 residents in that tract) do not live within one mile of a large grocery store or supermarket. This is likely an indication that residents in this area do not have access to fresh fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods. Instead, residents in food deserts often rely on smaller food marts that sell large amounts of processed foods high in fat and sugar that contribute to high obesity rates.
The percentage of individuals in an area who do not live within one mile of a grocery store can be used to identify whether or not that area is a food desert, and which neighborhoods require development and investment in basic resources and nutrition education.

Gallagher, Mari. "USDA defines food deserts." Nutrition Digest Published by the American Nutrition Association, vol. 38, no. 2, 2010. Link
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