WASHINGTON, D.C. (WHSV) — On Wednesday, Senator Mark Warner joined several other senators in introducing the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act.
According to a press release from Warner’s office, the legislation aims to expand access to affordable and nutritious food in areas that are designated as “food deserts” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The press release says according to recent data from the USDA, nearly 40 million Americans live in food deserts, which are areas defined to be without grocery stores within one or more miles in urban regions, and 10 or more miles in rural regions.
The press release says in Virginia alone, there are more than one million individuals living in food deserts. Studies have shown that Americans who live in communities with low-access to healthy food options are at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Recent USDA data also says people of color are more likely to reside in a food desert, the press release says.
Warner says the Health Food Access for All Americans Act would provide incentives to food providers to expand access to healthy foods in these communities and reduce the number of food deserts nationwide.
These incentives include tax credits or grants to food providers who service low-access communities and attain a “Special Access Food Provider” certification through the Treasury Department.
The additional senators introducing the HFAAA Act include Senators Jerry Moran (Kansas), Bob Casey (Pennsylvania) and Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia).