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What are Food Deserts?

What are Food Deserts?

Food deserts are regions where people have limited access to healthy and affordable food. This may be due to having a low income or having to travel farther to find healthy food options because there are no choices in their neighborhoods. Food deserts are heavy on convenience stores that sell mostly processed foods, high in calories and low in nutrients.

Without access to healthy foods, people living in food deserts may be at higher risk of diet-related conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The USDA identified around 6,500 food deserts between 2000 and 2006. Experts estimate that around 23.5 million people in the U.S. live in low-income areas that are farther than 1 mile to the nearest large grocery store.

The Hillside neighborhood — within Fort Worth’s 76104 ZIP code, has been identified by the USDA as a food desert. A study by UT Southwestern found that residents of the 76104 ZIP code have the lowest life expectancy in Texas at 66.7 years. Doctors and residents say the lack of affordable healthy food contributes to the area’s poor health.

Interested in learning more about this subject and more? Stay tuned for our upcoming Urban Design Talk topics.


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