The Importance of Healthy Food Access!

healthy foodThere are almost 30 million people in the U.S. who don’t have access to healthy food, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Most of these people are low-income and live more than a mile from a supermarket where they could get healthy, fresh and affordable food choices. They may live near convenience stores where they mostly get high-sugar, high-fat fast food and liquor. Experts in the field express their concerns such as what can be seen on Clarence Gooden tweets. The National Healthy Food Financing Initiative offers grants that support projects to revitalize economies and improve health.

The Benefits of Healthy Food Access

Healthy food not only improves the health of people, it also improves the health of their local economy. It revitalizes struggling businesses and provides jobs. When the local economy improves, the home values also improve, and taxes are generated to upgrade the surrounding area.

grocery-storeA full-service supermarket employees 150 – 200 full and part-time employees and with several supermarkets in a region they can employ up to 5,000 people.

When there are supermarkets in an area, the property values rise from four to seven percent in some places.

Supermarkets also participate in community development through local giving programs. They donate to local food banks, to local nonprofits and their employees give volunteer hours as community service.

Grants Support a Wide Range of Activities

deliverySome of the activities that grants support for the transportation and distribution of healthy food are:

• Refrigerated vehicles for direct delivery to markets
• Financing for local food stands and mobile market trucks to transport the food
• Onsite mobile processing such as flash freezing, refrigeration or drying of meat and seafood for distribution
• Containers to keep food fresh for more than one day

The Health Effect

Obesity rates have increased in the U.S. While there are many causes for obesity, poor eating habits is one cause that can be corrected. When people have access to healthy food, research has shown that their health improves and they have are fewer diet-related diseases.

The people in neighborhoods that have access to supermarkets are more likely to eat a healthy diet, especially the dietary guidelines for fresh fruits and vegetables. The obesity rate is 56 percent lower in children and 21 percent lower in adults. In one study in Los Angeles, there was a direct correlation between the body mass index and the distance to a grocery store.

The Grants

The Conservation Fund and CSX, a major agriculture transportation company have joined together to offer grants to support the producers and distributors of local, fresh food in underserved communities. The grants not only help expand food networks, they also support local farmers and working farms to improve the entire food chain.

Who Is at Risk?

neighborhoodLow-income and rural areas are the most at risk of being far from healthy food. These areas have half as many supermarkets as wealthy areas, and some have even less than half. This adds up to one third of the U.S. population without easy access to a grocery store.

With the help of grants, more than six million people annually have received healthy food through an expanded local food supply through mobile food chests and refrigerator trucks. The produce and perishable food is delivered to 22 states where CSX operates.

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28 Responses to The Importance of Healthy Food Access!

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    Yes, it is so important to eat right and be able to provide it for our families.

  2. Scott says:

    We noticed this when we lived in a smaller town. You just couldn’t get fresh foods consistently and in turn we end up buying processed.
    Scott recently posted…A Visit to the Big House (Casa Grande)My Profile

  3. This is why we love having a garden. With just a few square feet, you can have your own fresh veggies. If you have enough room, you can preserve them to eat through the winter, too!
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted…Tuition Insurance from Allianz Global AssistanceMy Profile

  4. Catherine S says:

    Eating healthy is so important. It is great the CSX and The Conservation Fund are helping people get fresh healthy food.

  5. Fresh food is so important, but unfortunately it can be extremely difficult to get it in some areas. It’s also more than some people can afford. =(
    Melissa Pezza recently posted…Why We Love Buying Baby Products from Sam’s Club and a #SamsClubBaby Twitter Party!My Profile

  6. Rachelle J says:

    I think getting the message out there about getting healthy food out there to everyone. I think more farmers markets would be such an awesome idea for every community!

  7. Erinn S says:

    I think slowly but surely we’ll get there. Eating right would help solve many conditions and some diseases
    Erinn S recently posted…Premier Protein on sale at CostcoMy Profile

  8. coolchillmom says:

    I love the idea of buying local because that makes it fresher, at least in my mind. I am trying to feed my family fresh and healthy items
    coolchillmom recently posted…What To Get For A New Cat Plus PrintableMy Profile

  9. It is important to have access to healthy food. This is especially true when one has children. recently posted…Fall Safflower Seed Luminary #DIYMy Profile

  10. Pam says:

    There is a program in our town dedicated to providing healthy produce in food deserts. They even take EBT!

  11. Liz Mays says:

    Having access to healthy food definitely makes a difference. I’m so lucky to be able to shop at the farmers’ market when I want.
    Liz Mays recently posted…Workout Wednesday: Tight Ab WorkoutMy Profile

  12. Michele says:

    Until a way is found to get affordable healthy food to ALL the people in the US people will continue to eat what they can afford which as the article says is not the healthiest.
    Michele recently posted…$100 GC and 2 $40 GC to Pelican-US–9/25 @pelicanwatersof @pelicanwater #AWBloggersMy Profile

  13. I live in a very urban area, and while we have quite a few nearby supermarkets I hate the quality of the product that I have access to, it is such a daily challenge sometimes to eat right when I don’t have access to the produce and veggies I would prefer. Good Post!
    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly recently posted…(Not So) {#WordlessWednesday} Shh! Don’t tell anyone but @SheaMoisture was my favorite booth at #BlogHer15My Profile

  14. Kristi says:

    I wish more people could learn and see how easy it is to garden, even in pots… tomatoes and things like that can be raised on a patio or deck from apartments. Canning and freezing food also.

  15. Dawn says:

    Healthy food is always important. It’s hard to steer away from junk food at times, but the healthy veggies and fruits are worth it!
    Dawn recently posted…Save 5% On School Supplies With Barnes And Noble MasterCard #sponsored #BNSchoolSavingsMy Profile

  16. Tracey says:

    Eating healthy and having access to healthy food is so important! I am lucky that I live near a few good farmers markets.

  17. Crystal says:

    It’s tough when you realize how expensive it is to eat healthy. I am grateful we have good Farmer’s Markets near by.
    Crystal recently posted…Maytag’s #MyFilthiestPlay Photo ContestMy Profile

  18. Penelope says:

    I take for granted how easy it is to get fresh produce. I know my sister-in-law had very little exposure to things outside of tomatoes and corn growing up.
    Penelope recently posted…Fall Gatherings With #ElliosPizzaMy Profile

  19. Hunger and need is a serious thing thanks for sharing about this initiative, we all deserve good nutrition for our families.
    Adriana Martin recently posted…Roasted Radishes, An Easy Side DishMy Profile

  20. I wish produce and other healthy foods weren’t so expensive. If your feeding a family on a budget it is harder when your forced to provide healthy food over other not so healthy stuff. I try to buy frozen fruit and vegetables so stuff doesn’t go bad.
    Uplifting Families recently posted…11 Easy Ways to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables #vegetablespiralizerMy Profile

  21. Elizabeth O. says:

    I agree, everyone should have easy access to healthy food. It’s about time we upgraded our diets!

  22. Jeanine says:

    Eating healthy and having access to healthier items is something I wish everyone had. I know sometimes it can be a bit too expensive around where I live for people so they just don’t get the better items but I always try to make sure I do.
    Jeanine recently posted…Tips for First Year Kindergarten ParentsMy Profile

  23. Christie says:

    You never think about all of the costs involved in moving food, especially healthy food. Great reminders for supporting healthy eating access!
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  24. Lexie Lane says:

    Since I’ve hit my mid 30’s I’ve started to feel a lot more pain than ever. It’s definitely so important to eat healthy. This post is so helpful and I do agree that we should have access to more healthy food. Just makes me sad knowing restaurants waste so much food every day when it could feed so many!

  25. melinda says:

    we make a special trip each week to the farmer’s market just for produce. It’s amazing how much we go through but it’s so important to keep my family healthy
    melinda recently posted…Our Summer with Camp InventionMy Profile

  26. Ann B says:

    Our city has a huge area where people can grow fresh foods. It is donated to the food bank. I like to donate food to our local food bank once a month.

  27. Chasing Joy says:

    I live in the inner city and there is only 1 decent supermarket within walking distance of me. And by walking distance I mean about a 20 to 30 minute walk. In the heat of summer your frozen foods would melt in that time. I consider myself blessed to have a car.
    Chasing Joy recently posted…Chasing Joy Needs Your Help Making Philadelphia Free To BreatheMy Profile

  28. Latoicha says:

    Having access to healthy food options is a must in all neighborhoods and especially for growing kids. Thanks for sharing!