- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) - A legislator will speak about a study committee’s work on food deserts when he meets with a coalition that advocates healthy lifestyles.

Rep. Edgar Starnes will speak Thursday to members of the N.C. Alliance for Health and its partners. They’ll meet Thursday evening at the Hickory Foundation YMCA.

Starnes is co-chair of the House Study Committee on Food Desert Zones.

The U.S. Agriculture Department defines a food desert as “a low-income census tract in which at least 33 percent or a minimum of 500 people live more than a mile from a supermarket or grocery store in urban areas, or 10 miles from a supermarket or grocery store in rural areas.”

North Carolina has more than 170 food deserts in 57 counties, affecting almost 32 percent of state residents.

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