First Lady Leading Attack on 'Food Deserts' in America

First Lady Leading Attack on 'Food Deserts' in America

Retailers are expanding to serve underserved communities.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined leaders from major retailers, foundations and small businesses Wednesday to announce commitments that will provide access to healthy, affordable food to millions of people in underserved communities. The commitments are with SUPERVALU, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and several regional retailers that will open or expand over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.

In total, these stores estimate they will create tens of thousands of jobs and serve approximately 9.5 million people in these communities throughout the country. Currently, 23.5 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and healthy foods. Studies have shown that limited access to healthy food choices can lead to poor diets, higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases.

"The commitments we're announcing today have the potential to be a game-changer for kids and communities all across this country," Obama said. "We can give people all the information and advice in the world about healthy eating and exercise, but if parents can't buy the food they need to prepare those meals because their only options for groceries are the gas station or the local minimart, then all that is just talk. Let's Move is about giving parents real choices about the food their kids are eating, and today's announcement means that more parents will have a fresh food retailer right in their community – a place that sells healthy food, at reasonable prices, so they can feed their families the way they want."

Mrs. Obama has been leading a nationwide effort to combat childhood obesity so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. The Let’s Move! Campaign is a comprehensive, collaborative, and community-oriented initiative that has sought to engage every sector of society to tackle head-on the many different factors that lead to childhood obesity. Today’s announcement is a historic step towards addressing that issue and achieving the primary goal of Let’s Move! – solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

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