Study looks at link between food deserts and childhood obesity

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Is there a link between food deserts and childhood obesity?

That is what professors at the University of Arkansas tried determining through a new study.

If it is a fruit, vegetable or herb, Mike Minnis probably grows it.

Minnis runs the Landmark Farmers Market on Carnes Avenue and told WREG he gives away much of what he grows to the neighborhood.

"Our mission here at Landmark is to create sustainable agricultural environments in food deserts communities," he said.

A study featured in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics suggested there is a correlation between food deserts and childhood obesity.

Having limited access to fresh food is not the only factor, of course, but it can contribute to health problems for kids.

"It will send a child into highs and lows and cause them to not be capable of concentrating," Minnis explained.

That is something Minnis is trying to combat in his neighborhood, Orange Mound.

While some kids in Memphis's food deserts live off of processed foods from convenience stores, Minnis wants families to know you have options, with or without a grocery store around the corner.

"You can take a little plot of land. It doesn't have to be more than 3 feet wide and 6 feet long, and you can plant two or three things that you like to eat."

Minnis also encouraged exercise and for people to have family dinner around the table, instead of in front of a TV.