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Surprising Science

Getting America to Eat Its Vegetables

First Lady Michelle Obama plus a chain store and several smaller organizations are trying to make fresh fruits and vegetables available in the nation’s ‘food deserts’ and in poor communities. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Two large initiatives and a string of smaller ones will bring fresh fruit and vegetables to the nation’s ‘food deserts’ and to its poor communities. First Lady Michele Obama has worked to create a $200 million fund through the California Endowment that will promote the development of grocery stores, farmers’ markets and gardening programs in areas where access to healthy produce is currently limited. The private retail and grocery chain Wal-Mart will open 300 new stores by 2016 in locations the U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified as ‘food deserts’. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The most recent report on obesity in America says that approximately one-third of the nation is overweight, increasing the risk that individuals will contract heart disease, hypertension and other diet-related problems. While Wal-Mart’s plan to open new stores will make fresh produce available to new areas, it may not necessarily be enough to change people’s diets. Cost must be taken into consideration since people can, for the same amount of money, substitute a fast food meal for a portion of fruit and vegetables. Quality produce is equally important and typically less available in poorer communities. 


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