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Food Deserts: Do they exist in your community?Science project video

Abstract

The term "food desert" refers to regions of a city that have a clear shortage or lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Such areas normally have many fast food restaurants, liquor stores, and convenient stores but few, if any, grocery stores. Residents of such areas find it challenging to maintain a nutritious diet. Some studies that suggest that food deserts are a myth. In this science project, you will study the food inventory of local merchants, and then survey residents for their consumption habits -particularly of fresh foods versus processed foods. You will then conduct the same survey in other regions of the city that have a greater availability of fresh foods.

Objective

Evaluate the dietary habits of residents in food deserts.

Scientific Terms

Food deserts, Nutrition

Background

The concept of food deserts or "islands" has been challenged by a study by the RAND Corporation (see the bibliography section). Conflicting results of studies on the validity of the existence of food deserts may perhaps be due to methodology. Findings by the RAND study actually indicate that there are more grocery stores in urban areas than in non-urban areas. These results may be due to methodology. Questions raised over past studies include how these studies sampled communities, businesses, and resident dietary habits. Some studies may have taken results from certain communities and extrapolated these results for larger parts of the country. Additionally, smaller corner grocery stores may have not been included in the study.

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    Complexity level:
    7
    Project cost ($):
    Time required:
    Additional time required to locate communities to be studied.
    Material availability:
    Safety concerns:

    This science fair project involves taking surveys within urban communities. Adult supervision or working with a partner is recommended.