School of Health Sciences
Health Promotion: CHES Track
food desert, food deserts, intervention
Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health
Branham, Lauren, "Food Deserts: The Issue and Possible Solutions" (2016). Senior Honors Theses. 594.
Areas in which residents lack access to low-priced, nutritious food are called food deserts. Typical characteristics of food deserts include residents with limited income, high concentrations of ethnic minorities, difficultly accessing grocery stores with a produce section, and high exposure to fast food restaurants and convenience stores. The reason limited access to healthy, minimally processed foods is an issue is because foods that are highly processed typically have higher levels of fat, sugar, and salt content which have been linked to obesity, coronary artery disease, and other chronic diseases. Many different types of interventions have been attempted to combat this multifaceted issue, including changes in policy, community, and interpersonal factors. Since food deserts are such complex issues, each community needs individualized attention before a policy or intervention is developed. Currently, there is no standardization for defining a “food desert.” Each community is different, and a standard method to measure a community’s food access status, resources, and needs is the first step in determining what action policymakers and health promotion specialists need to take in order to combat this widespread problem.