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Grocery Access and Community Development: Texans Lack Access to Affordable Fresh Foods (Text Only Version)

 

Going to the grocery store is something most of us take for granted. But for more than 3.4 million Texans[i] who live in underserved communities—areas where it is difficult to buy fresh food—that trip to a grocery store is anything but easy. Whether they’re in big cities or small towns, these families are forced to rely on understocked convenience stores or take inconvenient, hours-long trips to buy groceries. 

The result? Access to fresh produce, dairy and other staples is very tough at best, and simply not an option for far too many. That results in higher rates of obesity and preventable health complications and diseases.[ii] The lack of access to affordable and nutritious food has a negative impact on the health of children and families across Texas. 

The facts may surprise you: 

  • Today, nearly two-thirds of Texans are overweight or obese.[iii]
  • The obesity rate of Texas children ages 10 to 17 is 19.1 percent.[iv]
  • Texas has the lowest number of supermarkets per capita of any state in the country,[v] with more than 14 percent of Texans without a grocery store or supermarket in their neighborhood. We can’t expect our children to grow up healthy and strong if they can’t get access to healthy, affordable, nutritious foods.[vi]
  • Low-income neighborhoods have 50 percent fewer supermarkets than the wealthiest neighborhoods.[vii]
  • Greater accessibility to neighborhood supermarkets is associated with healthier living and lower body weight, as found in several large cross sectional studies.[viii] [ix] [x] [xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv] [xvi] [xvii] [xviii]
  • We need a statewide program to bring supermarkets to our rural and urban communities to provide more access to fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, seafood, and lean meats.[xix]

 

The solution? Grocery Access Investment is the answer. It is a policy initiative that helps put healthy foods in all communities.[xx] [xxi] And there is evidence that it can have huge benefits: the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) created 5,000 direct jobs, and resulted in $190 million in total investment due to the state’s $30 million of seed funding.[xxii] But not only that, it increased access to healthy food for more than 400,000 people.[xxiii]

 

DID YOU KNOW? A single supermarket can create as many as 250 new jobs for local residents.[xxiv] [xxv] [xxvi] We can increase access to healthier foods, create jobs and decrease obesity by creating a Grocery Access Investment Initiative.



[i] “Searching for Markets: The Geography of Inequitable Access to Healthy and Affordable Food in the United States” The Reinvestment Fund. The Reinvestment Fund, (2011) Web. 11 Nov, 2014. http://www.cdfifund.gov/what_we_do/resources/SearchingForMarkets_Report_web_Low_%20Res.pdf  

[ii] “Creating Access to Healthy, Affordable Food: Food Deserts.” U.S. Department of Agriculture. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.

<http://apps.ams.usda.gov/fooddeserts/foodDeserts.aspx>.

[iii] Department of State Health Services, Center for Health Statistics, 2009 Texas Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System. Available online at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/chs/brfss/query/brfss_form.shtm

[iv] Levi J. “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Trust for American’s Health. (2014) Web. 11 Nov, 2014.  http://stateofobesity.org/files/stateofobesity2014.pdf

[v] “Searching for Markets: The Geography of Inequitable Access to Healthy and Affordable Food in the United States” The Reinvestment Fund. The Reinvestment Fund, (2011) Web. 11 Nov, 2014.

[vi] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food—Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress. USDA, 25 June 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/AP/AP036/>.

[vii] Powell, Lisa M., Sandy Slater, Donka Mirtcheva, Yanjun Bao, and Frank J. Chaloupka. “Food Store Availability and Neighborhood Characteristics in the United States.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 44.3 (2007): 189-95.

[viii] Morland, Kimberly, Steve Wing, and Ana Diez Roux. “The Contextual Effect of the Local Food Environment on Residents' Diets: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.” American Journal of Public Health 92.11 (2002): 1761-768.

[ix] Laraia, Barbara A., Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Jay S. Kaufman, and Sonya J. Jones. “Proximity of Supermarkets Is Positively Associated with Diet Quality Index for Pregnancy.” Preventive Medicine 39.5 (2004): 869-75

[x] Moore, Latetia V., Ana V. Diez Roux, Jennifer A. Nettleton, and David R. Jacobs, Jr. “Associations of the Local Food Environment with Diet Quality--A Comparison of Assessments Based on Surveys and Geographic Information Systems: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.” American Journal of Epidemiology 167.8 (2008): 917-24.

[xi] Rose, Donald, and Rickelle Richards. “Food Store Access and Household Fruit and Vegetable Use among Participants in the US Food Stamp Program.” Public Health Nutrition 7.8 (2004): 1081-088.

[xii] Morland, Kimberly, Ana V. Diez Roux, and Steve Wing. “Supermarkets, Other Food Stores, and Obesity: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 30.4 (2006): 333-39.

[xiii] Lopez, Russ P. “Neighborhood Risk Factors for Obesity.” Obesity 15.8 (2007): 2111-119.

[xiv] Powell, Lisa M., M. Christopher Auld, Frank J. Chaloupka, Patrick M. O'Malley, and Lloyd D. Johnston. “Associations Between Access to Food Stores and Adolescent Body Mass Index.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 33.4 (2007): S301-307.

[xv] Liu, Gilbert C., Jeffrey S. Wilson, Rong Qi, and Jun Ying. “Green Neighborhoods, Food Retail and Childhood Overweight: Differences by Population Density.” American Journal of Health Promotion 21.4 Suppl (2007): 317-25.

[xvi] Wang, May C., Soowon Kim, Alama A. Gonzalez, Kara E. MacLeod, and Marilyn A. Winkleby. “Socioeconomic and Food-related Physical Characteristics of the Neighbourhood Environment Are Associated with Body Mass Index.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 61.6 (2007): 491-98.

[xvii] Chen, Susan E., and Raymond J. G. M. Florax. “Zoning for Health: The Obesity Epidemic and Opportunities for Local Policy Intervention.” Journal of Nutrition 140.6 (2010): 1181S-184S.

[xviii] Rundle, Andrew, Kathryn M. Neckerman, Lance Freeman, Gina S. Lovasi, Marnie Purciel, James Quinn, Catherine Richards, Neelanjan Sircar, and Christopher Weiss. “Neighborhood Food Environment and Walkability Predict Obesity in New York City.” Environmental Health Perspectives 117.3 (2009): 442-47.

[xix] Khan, Laura K., Kathleen Sobush, Dana Keener, Kenneth Goodman, Amy Lowry, Jakub Kakietek, and Susan Zaro. “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States.” CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58.RR07 (2009): 1-26.

[xx] Khan, Laura K., Kathleen Sobush, Dana Keener, Kenneth Goodman, Amy Lowry, Jakub Kakietek, and Susan Zaro. “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States.” CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58.RR07 (2009): 1-26.

[xxi] A Healthy Food Financing Initiative: An Innovative Approach to Improve Health and Spark Economic Development. PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://policylinkcontent.s3.amazonaws.com/HFFI_ADVOCACY3.PDF>.

[xxii] A Healthy Food Financing Initiative: An Innovative Approach to Improve Health and Spark Economic Development. PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://policylinkcontent.s3.amazonaws.com/HFFI_ADVOCACY3.PDF>.

[xxiii] i A Healthy Food Financing Initiative: An Innovative Approach to Improve Health and Spark Economic Development. PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://policylinkcontent.s3.amazonaws.com/HFFI_ADVOCACY3.PDF>.

[xxiv] Lang Brian, Caroline Harries, Miriam Manon, Jordan Tucker, Eugene Kim, Sara Ansell, and Pat Smith. Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation. The Food Trust, 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://policylinkcontent.s3.amazonaws.com/HFFHandbookFINAL.pdf>.

[xxv] Treuhaft, Sarah, and Allison Karpyn. The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Foods and Why It Matters. Policy Link and The Food Trust, 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. <http://thefoodtrust.org/uploads/media_items/grocerygap.original.pdf>.

[xxvi] NMTC-Financed Food Access Projects. The Reinvestment Fund. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://healthyfoodaccess.org/library/browse/nmtc-financed- food-access-projects>.

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