Availability of Grocery Delivery to Food Deserts in States Participating in the Online Purchase Pilot | Health Disparities | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network
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    Research Letter
    Health Policy
    December 2, 2019

    Availability of Grocery Delivery to Food Deserts in States Participating in the Online Purchase Pilot

    Author Affiliations
    • 1National Clinician Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 2Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 4Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts
    • 5Yale School of Nursing, Yale University, Orange, Connecticut
    • 6Section of General Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 7Department of Health Policy and Management, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut
    • 8Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Health System, New Haven, Connecticut
    JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(12):e1916444. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16444

    The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides federally funded nutritional support to qualifying low-income persons.1 To increase SNAP beneficiaries’ access to grocers, the 2014 Farm Bill included an Online Purchase Pilot (OPP) that allows beneficiaries in 8 states to use SNAP to purchase groceries online. The 2018 Farm Bill extends this benefit nationwide after OPP completion. Delivery of online-purchased groceries offers an opportunity to expand food access where it is otherwise limited. However, to our knowledge, there are no studies assessing the availability of grocery delivery in USDA-designated food deserts, defined as low-income communities with limited vehicular access and grocer availability. To inform on the potential effect of delivery in these areas, we quantified the proportion of both rural and urban USDA-designated food deserts currently serviceable by online grocery purchase and delivery in the 8 OPP states.

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