Canadian Environmental Health Atlas

Understanding Our Environment is Key to Promoting Health and Preventing Disease

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Key Points

Food Deserts

• “Food deserts” are neighbourhoods where residents have little or no access to healthy and affordable foods.

• Factors contributing to the formation of food deserts include resident income, age, and access to transportation, with low-income Canadians, seniors, and single parents being affected most commonly by lack of access to nutritious food.

• A lack of nutritious food is associated with increased risk of diabetes and poorer mental and physical health.

• The impact of food deserts could be reduced by improved urban planning and development, and policies and programs that address affordable housing and food insecurity.