Graphic Science: High and Dry in the Food Desert; May 2012; Scientific American Magazine; by John Matson; 1 Page(s)
Even within the borders of one of the world’s top agricultural countries, healthy food can be hard to come by. Many Americans reside in food deserts—communities where retailers offering fresh food are scarce but fast-food restaurants and convenience stores selling prepared foods can abound.
The top two maps at the right show the proximity of full-line grocers to two groups for whom healthy food is often difficult to procure: low-income households and those without access to a vehicle. Scientists are still exploring the links between food deserts and health by investigating how the nonavailability of fresh food may spur obesity, diabetes and other diet-related conditions. One 2006 study found an association between the presence of supermarkets and lower obesity rates. Convenience stores, on the other hand, were associated with higher rates.