Food deserts make life difficult for some Athens residents
Nearly half the people in Athens live in areas more than a mile away from a grocery. The USDA calls these areas food deserts, and they can pose unique challenges for the residents who live in these neighborhoods. Food desert residents often end up getting their meals from convenience stores instead of local grocers. Many food desert residents do not have cars and taking the bus can be a challenge when carrying a lot of groceries. Some studies indicate that living in food deserts increase an individual’s chance of being obese. It also increases the chances for obesity related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Food security expert, Dr. Jerry Shannon, says that changes in demographics and the growth of large grocery changes have led to the rise of food deserts. He suggests that a possible solution could come from local governments supporting smaller grocers.