All New Yorkers should be able to choose healthy food.
With January comes the end to the holiday season, and a snap back to reality. For some of us this means a new, fresh focus on trying to live the healthiest life possible. Maybe this means following through on a New Year’s Resolution or simply getting back on track after the chaos of the holidays. It could be buying water or a 100% fruit juice instead of a bottle of soda, or it could even be committing to incorporating more fresh produce into your meals.
But, as we work on bettering ourselves, it is easy to forget that some people do not have the ability to make these healthy choices. Currently, 32 out of the 62 counties in New York struggle with access to healthy food. Lack of quality grocery stores or healthy food options in local corner stores in both rural and urban areas means six out of 10 adults and one third of children are at serious risk of diet related diseases. A poor diet can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes and obesity, both of which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
In his State of the State address on January 3rd, it was nice to see Governor Cuomo mention his goal of alleviating hunger in schools. This is a great opportunity to remind everyone that healthy and nutritious food must be available to everyone. Thus, the American Heart Association is prioritizing funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative in the 2018-2019 State Budget. This money will help bring supermarkets to areas in need and provide healthy and nutritious food options throughout New York. New York must get better at ensuring everyone has the ability to make the healthy choice.
Please feel free to email me at Caitlin.Obrien@heart.org if you are interested in getting involved or have a personal story to share.