White House to retailers: Bring fresh produce to 1,500 places

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The White House says several retailers, including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Supervalu, have agreed to open or expand 1,500 stores in areas without broad access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.

Company executives were joining Michelle Obama for an announcement at the White House Wednesday.

The first lady is on a campaign to bring down childhood obesity rates. Increased access to fresh and healthy foods is part of that effort.

Studies have shown that limited access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, can lead to higher levels of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Wednesday’s announcement is also being cast as a jobs creator. The White House says the retailers estimate the effort will create tens of thousands of jobs while serving more than 9 million people.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.