First Lady Michelle Obama is at it again, working on her anti-childhood obesity campaign. This time, executives from Wal-Mart, Walgreens, SuperValue and other stores have joined Mrs. Obama at the White House to announce their pledge. They plan to open or expand 1500 stores in communities that have less nutritious foods. Their goal is to reach 9.5 million of the 23.5 million Americans who are in locations where it is difficult to find affordable healthy food.
In Obama’s Words
During the event Mrs. Obama explained,
“The commitments that you all are making today have the potential to be a game changer. When these stores succeed, they can serve as anchors in our communities.”
The term for the foods found in these neighborhoods is “food deserts” and it’s defined by the Department of Agriculture as low-income areas that have more than 33% of the population living more than a mile from affordable food stores.
Making a Difference
Each superstore has pledged to make a difference. Walgreens, for instance, plans to reach 4.8 million people by using 1000 if its locations to sell fruit, vegetables and other groceries that they don’t usually have in stock. Wal-Mart is planning to open or expand food sections in 275 or 300 of its stores by 2016.The Obama administration has a Healthy Food Financing Initiative, and they plan to financially assist stores that open in food deserts. This year, they have a $35 million budget, which is well short of the $300 million that President Obama has requested for next year.