number of grocery stores in the Navajo Nation with nearly 300,000 residents
In an area "roughly the size of South Carolina", there are only 10 grocery stores. The rest of the Navajo Nation — semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico — can be considered a food desert, with 80% of the food available, mostly at gas stations and trading post, "loaded with salt, sugar, fat and preservatives," i.e. junk food.
The lack of nutritious food is causing a health crisis in the Navajo Nation: 1 in 3 people are diabetic or at risk ("the second-leading cause of death among tribal citizens living on the reservation"). According to the “Addressing Child Hunger and Obesity in Indian Country” report to Congress, Native American children have “approximately twice the levels of food insecurity, obesity and Type 2 diabetes relative to the averages for all U.S. children of similar ages.” 24% of Native American houshold live below the federal poverty line.
Read more at Al Jazeera America.