Central to The National Mobile Market model is research. In partnering with a community, research is absolutely critical in both establishing a need and ensuring that need is being met. The very first task for a new mobile market team is to develop and administer surveys in their target communities. These surveys allow collection of food desert data and ensure the presence of the need for a mobile market. These initial surveys are also used in combination with future data collection to evaluate the efficacy of the mobile market in increasing access and consumption of healthy foods.
It is our goal to be the hub for mobile market research from around the world. We are currently actively investigating the effect of our established mobile market in Nashville as well as conducting preliminary research in other cities such as Memphis, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Minneapolis. In addition to collecting survey data in our target communities, we are also creating a national databank for methods of fighting food access inequity.
Food Deserts & Effects
A food desert is a geographic district with limited access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet. For those living in food deserts, the physical barrier often caused by unreliable or expensive transportation severely restricts the quality and variety of food purchased as well as the frequency of trips to the grocery store. As a result, residents of these areas regularly purchase items from convenience stores and fast food restaurants where healthy options are limited and sold at a notably higher price.
Research shows that access to affordable, healthy food is a major predictor of childhood obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, studies in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine have shown that increased access to fresh foods and produce can reduce rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. In addition, supermarket access can increase fruit and vegetable consumption by 32%. This contributes to a more well-rounded and nutritional diet and helps to offset the physical and financial burden of chronic diet-related illness.
For more information on food security, please visit the following websites:
Understanding Food Deserts: A Comparison of Food Insecure Neighborhoods in the Southeastern U.S.: Presented at a National Conference on Health Statistics.
Click image below for interactive food desert map