The U.S. Agriculture Department on Monday introduced an online “Food Desert Locator,” showing where in the United States residents have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods.
The Obama administration defines a food desert as a low-income census tract where either a substantial number or percentage of residents lacks easy access to a supermarket or large grocery store. (The Census Bureau defines a census tract as a small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county.)
The USDA says its new online tool can be used to expand the availability of nutritious food in low-income communities. The agency also noted that expanding the availability of nutritious food is part of First Lady Michele Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity.
“This new Food Desert Locator will help policy makers, community planners, researchers, and other professionals identify communities where public-private intervention can help make fresh, healthy, and affordable food more readily available to residents,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “With this and other Web tools, USDA is continuing to support federal government efforts to present complex sets of data in creative, accessible online formats.”
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