As part of Lets Move!, the campaign to end childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama is taking on food deserts. These are nutritional wastelands that exist across America in both urban and rural communities where parents and children simply do not have access to a supermarket. Watch the video below and learn what the First Lady is doing to help families in these areas across the country.
More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities, where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited, are known as food deserts. By using the new interactive Food Environment Atlas, users can see the location of food deserts across the country and other indicators of how successful communities are in accessing healthy food. Lack of access to proper nutrition is one reason why many children are not eating the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Food insecurity and hunger among our children is even more widespread. A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. (Household Food Security in the United States, 2008) Too often, these same school age children are not eating the recommended level of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. (source) So, Let’s Move! to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.
As part of the President’s proposed FY 2011 budget, the Administration announced a new program – the Healthy Food Financing Initiative — a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Agriculture and Health and Human Services which will invest $400 million a year to provide innovative financing to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options. Grants will also help bring farmers markets and fresh foods into underserved communities, boosting both family health and local economies. Through these initiatives and private sector engagement, the Administration will work to eliminate food deserts across the country within seven years.
This Spring, LetsMove.gov will unveil specialized tool kits and strategies to help increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities across the country.
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