The topic and definition of 'food desert' has been highly debated in the past few decades. It seems, though, that through steady research and statistical analysis we are coming close to finding the evidence needed to support the theory. As it stands, the USDA defines 'food desert' as 'a census tract with a substantial share of residents who live in low-income areas that have low levels of access to a grocery store or healthy, affordable food retail outlet.' The distance one would have to travel to obtain healthy food and qualify their residency as within a food desert would be one mile in urban areas and 10 miles in rural areas ("USDA"). Everything within that area would contain fast food restaurants, convenience stores and other shops with a limited variety of merchandise.
Unfortunately, this leaves inhabitants within those specified zones with extremely limited options for food buying. Those inhabitants include families with low median income, people with a high school education or GED, elderly who can't drive or have no access to public transportation or just busy households who take nutritional shortcuts (Blanchard, Morton). It is more likely that these individuals will become patrons of the fast food restaurants and convenience stores within their food desert resulting in continuous consumption of unhealthy food. Through this paper, I will attempt to show the positive correlation between the inhabitants within the food deserts and higher levels of obesity through the Body Mass Index (BMI). Since these establishments are the only sources of food within the food deserts, one would deduce that the connection should be easy to find.
Through studying various research done on this topic, I have found that the previously stated connection is not so obvious. While we know that consuming fast food is unhealthy and leads to higher BMI, there is consensus in the research that I've done that states that while eating fast food is connected to a high fat diet and BMI, we have not yet found the connection between living or working in the proximity of fast food restaurants and BMI.