Food Deserts in Tennessee-HIA of SB 1176

Published By
Health Impact Project

The Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, in partnership with the Tennessee Obesity Taskforce, conducted a rapid HIA of Tennessee Senate Bill 1176, the Tennessee Food Desert Relief Act which was introduced during the 2012 legislative session. The bill would authorize the use of revenue bonds and loans to develop property into food desert relief enterprises (FDRE). The HIA focused on how the bill will affect rural and urban residents by improving access to healthful, affordable foods.

The HIA found that overall the bill has potential to improve health in Tennessee but could be amended to maximize the health benefits. The HIA recommended defining food deserts, FDREs, and healthy foods to help clarify the types of initiatives that are eligible for funding under the bill. The HIA also recommended that FDRE applications be scored according to health-promoting criteria, such as whether the proposed locations are near public transportation routes, and equitable criteria, including prioritizing areas and populations with the highest food access burdens.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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