Last week, American Heart Association Senior Campaign Director Chris Walker took several Dallas city council members to New Orleans to show them how healthy food financing efforts have successfully brought healthier food to the neighborhoods that need it most. You can read more about Chris' trip here.
As we know, eating healthy and being physically active helps prevent diabetes and heart disease - that's why we're encouraging the City of Dallas to help battle food insecurity with this economic incentive.
Successful projects span the country due to similar policies in states like Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana and Ohio, and we have our own local success story here in Texas. In 2014, the City of Houston’s financing assistance resulted in the construction of a new grocery store — Pyburn’s Farm Fresh Foods — in a low-income area not too far from the city’s downtown. Not only is the store a success, it has become a hub for economic activity — providing jobs and services for the area — and a beacon of hope for hundreds of residents looking for gainful employment. Today, its commercial center is now fully occupied by businesses. There is even a new auto service center across the street. This is the power of what smart economic development policy can do in areas thirsty for investment. Addressing disparity at the most basic level, improving food access while boosting the local economy, providing jobs and developing infrastructure; now we are speaking my language.
The health benefits are equally apparent. We are currently experiencing the highest childhood obesity rate this country has ever seen. Without grocery access, children are forced to eat what is readily available to them, whether it’s healthy or not.