Make Healthy Food Affordable and Accessible
More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than a mile from a supermarket. These communities are known as “food deserts” since they lack access to affordable, nutritious food. Lack of access is one reason why many children are not eating recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Food insecurity and hunger among children is widespread. A recent USDA report showed that in 2008, an estimated 49 million people, including 17 million children, lived in households that experienced hunger multiple times throughout the year. Let’s Move! to ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.
In our effort to fight obesity in children and adolescents, it is important that we focus on increasing access to healthy and affordable foods. Here are some ways that cities and towns can play an important role in providing access to affordable and healthy food options through activities such as the following:
- Establish a Food Policy Council
- Increase enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Support the sale of local foods across the community by offering incentives and encouraging the establishment of farmers’ markets.
- Promote policies that support and protect community gardens.
- Pass food policies that require food and beverages purchased with government funds to meet certain nutrition standards.
- Require access to free and safe drinking water in public places.
- Ensure that residents can access healthy and affordable food through public transportation—by realigning bus routes, providing free shuttles, or other means.