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Food Access and Food Deserts Obesity/Health/Nutrition and Problem Definition.

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Presentation on theme: "Food Access and Food Deserts Obesity/Health/Nutrition and Problem Definition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food Access and Food Deserts Obesity/Health/Nutrition and Problem Definition

2 “to be able to choose healthy foods you must first have access to them” “health – like politics – must be local” 0 This is the argument behind focusing on Food Deserts and Food Balance 2.3 million U.S. households (2.2%) live farther than a mile from nearest supermarket with no access to a car million people live in low-income area over a mile from nearest supermarket [However, only 11.5 million of these (4.1% U.S. population) are themselves low-income] 6.5 million children live in food deserts.

3 Meanwhile… 0 6/10 American Adults are overweight 0 1/3 American Adults are obese 0 1/3 American children are overweight or obese 0 Highest levels of obesity are in census tracts with no supermarkets 0 Food Balance scores are statistically related to higher diabetes rates and obesity and observationally to increased patterns of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Distance to nearest grocery is even more strongly linked to BMI (Gallagher). 0 COSTS: lost quality/length of life for those directly affected. Higher medical costs, lost productivity, etc. for government and employers. Lower wages for those with poorer early life nutrition.

4 Close to Home 0 In Chicago: 0 55 square miles of Food Deserts with 383,954 people, 70% of whom are African American Note: This is DOWN 30% in last year from 64 square miles and 550,382 people. In addition, Mayor Emanuel has pledged to reduce by 200,000 by 2015 and to eliminate food deserts by Childhood Obesity rates in Illinois are double U.S. rates AGC is not in a Food Desert nor is it marked as recently transitioning from a Food Desert to a Food Oasis.

5 Some rather large addendums… 0 UNC – Chapel Hill study followed thousands of people over 15 years and found that people do not eat more produce when have a supermarket in the neighborhood 0 Relevant factors instead were INCOME and – for low-income men – proximity to fast food restaurant 0 USDA one year study on access to healthy food found price to be larger driver than location. Low-income households on average 1.8 miles from nearest supermarket but travel 4.9 miles to most frequently used supermarket survey found nearly 6% of U.S. households report access- related problems to getting food they wanted but over half of these households also lacked enough money. More research needs done on relative weight of access, availability, and price/income constraints. 0 In addition, eating MORE healthy foods – even if accomplished – would not lower obesity unless accompanied by a reduction away from unhealthy foods.

6 “If you go into most grocery stores across America, the majority of the store is chock-full of processed food calling out to you from the packages, ‘Pick me! I’m tastier and more convenient.’ And ringed around all of this are good old veggies, with no instructions” - Jamie Oliver ½ of meals are eaten OUTSIDE of the home. Portion sizes up. Fat content up. Cultural Values: Hong Kong has sky- high real-estate prices and a high density population but the culture values freshness. Can healthy compete with cheap and convenient?

7 0 So are food deserts THE problem? 0 Are they not the problem per say but a necessary first step toward a larger solution? “You can’t eat healthy if it’s not even a choice”

8 Solutions Proposed and in Progress (some for Food Deserts and Access, some for the co-concerns) 0 Have the market do well by doing good: convince private sector to pursue actual profits in these neighborhoods. 0 Walgreens initiative to turn 1,000 locations into ‘Food Oases’ 0 Healthy Food Financing Initiative: incentivizing stores to open in food deserts through tax credits, below-market and guaranteed loans, and grants [and locally, Illinois Facilities Fund] 0 Obesity is expensive. Re-invest those costs into food access. 0 Raise and Enforce SNAP standards 0 Education on eating healthy and food preparation: ‘nudging’ 0 Keep pushing fast food to involve and offer better options 0 MOBILE options: carts, delivery, vending machines, etc. 0 Foundational support and Micro-finance

9 A Harris Connection (who I know would be happy to talk to us) Terri Zhu, Harris ‘11, is current Board Member future Program Director of Louis’ Groceries NFP, a three-person start-up working to create a 2,500 square foot full-service grocery in Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood (a food desert). Projecct will include a kitchen in the back and food and cooking education and demonstrations. It will also include normal grocery store JUNK food. They will be gathering baseline and ongoing data of consumption patterns and experimenting in product placement, price variation, and class offerings affects on consumer choices. “The idea is that once people have access to healthy food they will automatically start eating healthier. We don’t necessarily believe that is true…if people respond to price reductions, perhaps cities should subsidize the price of vegetables rather than pushing to open new stores if improved health outcomes is the policy goal.”


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