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The interactive map provides data on a country wide level.

A new mapping tool from the United States Department of Agriculture puts into perspective an alarming statistic for Sacramento area residents. In Sacramento County there are currently over 1,000 fast food restaurants while at the same time there are under 300 full service grocery stores.

“I’d say probably in the hundreds, like 500 or so,” said Stephanie Mauro, a student who resides in Sacramento County, when asked how many fast food restaurants she thought there were in the region.

“More than 1,000? That is really sad, I’m actually really disappointed by that,” Mauro commented when presented with the actual figures.

This data means the average resident in Sacramento County is more likely to come across up to four fast food restaurants before seeing a grocery store. In some neighborhoods, the numbers could be even higher since some of them don’t even have any grocery stores at all. These neighborhoods are called food deserts. Many families in Sacramento County are barely getting by on minimum wage to feed their families, and they may be inclined to utilize a fast food restaurant rather than getting out of their car and visiting a grocery store, especially if they’ve seen a fast food option four times before spotting a grocery store.

Furthermore, people who eat at a fast food restaurant often are suffering from the health effects of obesity and diabetes. These people could really benefit from more grocery stores and healthy options in the Sacramento community. This could help them live healthier and longer lives.

Locally, the Sacramento BHC is working to improve this by encouraging urban gardening and local farm stands which sell fresh fruit and produce right in their own communities. In many cases, people can even buy fruits and vegetables directly from their neighbors without even getting into their cars.

Area residents interested in learning more about the Sacramento BHC and its work around healthier food options can visit www.sacbhc.org.

Featured image taken by Scott Ableman.