Predicting Food Deserts via Social Media

Access to nutritious food is imperative to physical well-being and quality of life. Failing to consume healthful food on a regular basis can lead to a series of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet (CDC, 2016). The definition of food deserts is that areas where at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract’s population reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles) (ANA, 2011). The distribution of food deserts (green) is shown in Figure 1.  Read More