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Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 07/20/2011

Michelle Obama joins forces with Walmart, Walgreens to battle food deserts

As a part of her campaign to combat childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama will announce commitments from major food retailers to open stores to make healthy, affordable food available in more areas across the U.S.

According to a White House official, “The commitments … will include opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.“

The commitments come from the heavy-hitters of the food industry including Walmart, Walgreens and Supervalu as well as regional stores around the country. Walgreens pledged to carry more fresh fruits and vegetables in at least 1,000 stores, while Walmart and Supervalu plan to open more than 500 new stores combined in the next five years, primarily in areas without access to healthy grocery options, according the the White House official.

Urban and rural areas without easy access to healthy foods are known as food deserts, and are thought to be one of the primary causes of the rise in U.S. obesity.

According to the White House offical, “Walmart is committing to opening or expanding 275 to 300 stores which will serve more than 800,000 people in rural and urban areas with limited or no access to grocery options. Walmart also estimates that more than 40,000 associates will work in these stores.”

The first lady’s announcement is scheduled for 2:15 in the East Room of the White House.

Read more at PostPolitics

By Beth Marlowe  |  10:56 AM ET, 07/20/2011

 
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