To put it simply, a food desert is a neighborhood far removed from grocery stores that sell healthy food.  

Subsequently, foods high in fat, calories and sugar are too abundant, which encourages unhealthy eating that can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, according to a newly published Walk Score blog.  

To help you avoid such locales, Walk Score has developed an online program that helps people find the right neighborhoods where good food is within walking distance. 

In addition, the online database has developed a new ranking of the best and worst U.S. cities in terms of healthy food access.

The Best Cities for Food Access

The rankings measure access to healthy food by calculating the percent of people in a city who can walk to a grocery store in five minutes:

Rank           City (500,000-plus pop.)     People with Food Access
1New York72 percent
2San Francisco59 percent
3Philadelphia57 percent
4Boston45 percent
5Washington, D.C.41 percent

The Worst Cities for Food Access

The following cities have the lowest percentage of people who can walk to a grocery store within five minutes:

Rank        City (500,000-plus pop.)     People with Food Access
1Indianapolis5 percent
2Oklahoma City5 percent
3Charlotte6 percent
4Tucscon6 percent
5Albuquerque7 percent

 

Areas in green indicate where you can walk to a grocery store in five minutes. Photo credit: Walk Score

The rankings are proximity-based and do not include the cost of food. The maps are designed to filter out convenient stores and try to only include grocery stores that sell produce.

Want to see how walkable your city is? Click here

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