Improving food access using agent based simulation

Deepak Agrawal, Cheng Bang Chen, Soundar Kumara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A steady increase in the number of cases for chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and some cancers has been one of the hottest issues in healthcare. One of the main reasons for this is not maintaining adequate consumption of healthy and high quality food. Access to healthy food is a critical public-health concern and consequently there is an increasing interest in mapping the food environment and identifying food deserts (areas where people have significantly limited access to retail sources of healthy, nutritious and affordable food). This study is a step towards that goal. We use Agent Based Simulation (ABS) to simulate the impact of various policy interventions on household's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. We choose State College, Pennsylvania as the case study to simulate the eating and purchasing behavior of low income households and redefine food desert based on more accurate data. We use the household and geographic data from the U.S. Census and results of public surveys conducted by USDA. We conclude by presenting some methods for verifications of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIIE Annual Conference and Expo 2015
PublisherInstitute of Industrial Engineers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780983762447
StatePublished - 2015
EventIIE Annual Conference and Expo 2015 - Nashville, United States
Duration: May 30 2015Jun 2 2015

Publication series

NameIIE Annual Conference and Expo 2015


OtherIIE Annual Conference and Expo 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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