New Study Shows Lack of Access to Supermarkets is Linked to Diet-Related Disease

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Nearly 500,000 children in Georgia live in lower-income communities underserved by supermarkets, a new study, Food for Every Child: The Need for More Supermarkets in Georgia, reports. At the same time, according to recent data, more than a fifth of Georgia’s children are obese—the second highest childhood obesity rate in the nation.

The report recommends that state and local governments in Georgia take the lead in developing a public-private response to this problem. Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP), the Georgia Food Industry Association, and The Food Trust have come together to form a Georgia Supermarket Access Task Force to develop a solution for this state.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership will work with The Food Trust to improve the health of children and communities by identifying and promoting public policy recommendations to encourage the development of supermarkets and other fresh-food retailers in food deserts—areas that offer few options for healthy eating—across the state.

“We track the well-being of children and families across 159 counties and we know there are health issues that children and families face, some of them diet-related,” said GaFCP Executive Director Gaye Smith in an Atlanta Journal Constitution article yesterday.

According to the study, Georgia’s existing supermarkets are unevenly distributed, leaving a disproportionately high number of lower-income residents without access to healthy food. Lack of access to affordable and nutritious food has been shown to have a negative impact on the health of children and families. Studies overwhelmingly indicate that people living in communities without a supermarket suffer from disproportionately high rates of obesity and other health-related issues, while people living in communities with a supermarket are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.  Supermarkets also serve as important anchors in communities, creating jobs and sparking economic revitalization.

The Task Force met for the first time yesterday and will meet again in the fall to find ways to improve health and economic development across the state.

Read Food for Every Child: The Need for More Supermarkets in Georgia.

Read Sheila M. Poole’s article in the AJC.

Read Noel Brown’s story at GPB News.

Watch Tayleigh Davis cover the story on WALB News 10.

Check out the story on 640 WGST.

Caroline Harries
Senior Associate, The Food Trust
215-575-0444 (x129)

William Valladares
GaFCP Communications Manager
404-527-7394 (x114)