The USDA defines food deserts as geographic areas where access to nutritious, affordable, healthy foods is extremely limited, or otherwise absent. Food deserts in DC overlie census tracts in which more than half of residents have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, making it nearly impossible for those people to eat healthy. Wards 7 and 8, the two wards with the lowest average household incomes, have 16% of the District's grocery stores but 23% of the city's population, while Wards 2 and 3, the two with the highest average household incomes, have 44% of the city's grocery stores and 27% of the population. This leads to high rates of overweight and obesity - over half of DC residents are overweight or obese. In Ward 8, which is most plagued by food deserts, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is 71.5%.
The FEED DC Act of 2010 will:
1) Improve access to healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods;
2) Encourage green technology in food stores; and
3) Create jobs in areas of high unemployment.
Access to healthy foods is vitally important to the residents of DC, especially to those living in food deserts, areas in which access to healthy, nutritious, and affordable foods is limited or absent. Without nutritious food, these residents will continue to be limited in their diet, increasing their risk of becoming overweight or obese and of contracting associated chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease.
Currently over half the DC population is overweight or obese, with these statistics increasing to staggering rates, in certain areas like Ward 8 which has a prevalence of overweight and obesity of 71.5%. Food deserts in DC overlie census tracts in which more than 52% of residents have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line. Wards 7 and 8, the two wards with the lowest average household income, have 16% of the District's grocery stores but 23% of the city's population, while Wards 2 and 3, with the highest average household income, have 44% of the city's grocery stores but only 27% of the population. Without passage of this Act these numbers will continue to get worse and the District's residents will continue to be plagued by chronic health conditions.
We would like your support in this effort to bring healthy food to low-income neighborhoods of Washington, DC. We believe passage of the Act is vital to eliminating food deserts from the District and making healthy foods available to every resident so everyone has the opportunity to create wholesome and nutritious meals for themselves and their families.