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Table 1 Definitions of food deserts used in previous studies

From: Gardening in the desert: a spatial optimization approach to locating gardens in rapidly expanding urban environments

Definition Geography Study
Term first used in UK to describe “rapidly decreasing number of grocers in urban, low income neighborhoods after World War II” Urban areas [40, p. 3]
Spatial disparity in access to retail food stores Urban areas [82]
Areas “where cheap and varied food is only accessible to those who have private transport or are able to pay the costs of public transport” Urban areas [83, p. 65]
Areas with barriers to food access based on “ability” (physical barriers), “assets” (financial barriers), or “attitudes” (state of mind) Urban areas [84, p. 241]
“Economic and physical access constraints perceived and experienced by disadvantaged consumers in an area of compound social exclusion and poor food retail access” Urban areas [85, p. 2084]
Empirical definition—minority neighborhoods with lower access to healthy food destinations within 5-min travel times Urban areas [41]
“Places where the transportation constraints of carless residents combine with a dearth of supermarkets to force residents to pay inflated prices for inferior and unhealthy foods at small markets and convenience stores” Urban areas [44, p. 352]
“Socially-distressed neighbourhoods with relatively low average household incomes and poor access to healthy food” Urban areas [30, p. 1]
“Urban areas with 10 or fewer stores and no stores with more than 20 employees” Urban areas [29, p. 372]
“Poor urban areas, where residents cannot buy affordable, healthy food” Urban areas [76, p. 436]
Locales situated more than 10 miles (16 km) from a supermarket Rural [14, 38]
“Socio-economically disadvantaged areas with relatively low household incomes and poor geographical access to nutritious, affordable food sources” Not specified [15, p. 2]
“Areas of relative exclusion where people experience physical and economic barriers to accessing health food” Not specified [27, p. 138]
A low-income tract where at least 33% of the population is greater than 1 mile (1.61 km) (in an urban area) or greater than 10 miles (16 km) (in a rural area) from the nearest supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store Urban and rural areas [39]
“Low-income, urban neighborhoods, often centrally located, with inadequate physical or economic access to healthy food” Urban areas [25, p. 204]