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The Surprising Impact of a Supermarket on a 'Food Desert'

The supermarket changed that neighborhood for the better, researchers at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corp. found. But not quite the way anyone expected.
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More than 23 million Americans live in low-income neighborhoods more than a mile from any supermarket, so-called "food deserts" where chips and soda are easier to find than apples or oranges. A generation of public policy has linked such limited access to healthy food to a host of health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.

The federal government has spent half a billion dollars in recent years to entice markets and grocery stores into those food deserts. But the evidence that they improve diets or health outcomes was thin before a years-long study of the impact one new supermarket had on one urban food-desert neighborhood.

The supermarket changed that neighborhood for the better, researchers at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corp. found. But not quite the way anyone expected.

Click here to read more from RAND Review.