Michelle Obama commends Walgreens

More than 23 million people in the US, 6.5 million of which are children, live in "food deserts," or parts of the country that have little to no access to stores with fresh produce. Today, first lady Michelle Obama spoke about the importance of improving these statistics.

More than 23 million people in the US, 6.5 million of which are children, live in “food deserts,” or parts of the country that have little to no access to stores with fresh produce. Today, first lady Michelle Obama spoke about the importance of improving these statistics.

As part of her nationwide initiative to lower obesity rates, Obama spoke at a Walgreens store in Chicago this morning to commend the company for expanding its offerings to include healthy groceries. Walgreens, which has already tested the expansion at 12 locations, plans to expand it to 19 more stores soon.  

During the summit, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city's urban farm organization Growing Power signed an agreement with Walgreens and Aldi to sell fresh produce to stores in the area.

From Bloomberg:

The mayor also said the city has commitments for 36 food stores to be added in the next couple of years, including 17 traditional stores such as SuperValu, Roundy's, Aldi and Walmart, and 19 expanded Walgreens drugstores.

The summit follows a report earlier this week that the number of Chicagoans living in areas without easy access to fresh foods has declined 39% in the past five years. The population in food deserts shrank to 383,954 from 632,974 in 2006, according to the report by Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group.

In January, Obama partnered with Walmart as part of her “Let's Move!” initiative to fight childhood obesity in America. Also, at the end of July, McDonald's announced its new nutritional guidelines, which includes lowering the sodium of its products and making fruit and low-fat dairy products more available for consumers.  

With more stores and companies becoming healthier since Obama launched “Let's Move!” in February 2010, the obesity epidemic in the US could soon be on its way out.

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