Access to Healthy Foods
Residents have access to nutritious foods in the neighborhoods in which they live.
Access to high quality, affordable foods like, whole grains, low-fat milk, fruit, vegetables, and lean meat, are important to help build a healthy diet for individuals and families.
According to the USDA, a balanced diet of these healthy foods helps reduce risk factors for chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension. Grocery stores and fresh food retailers play a critical role as they make neighborhoods livable and help local economies thrive. (http://thefoodtrust.org)
The problem is felt most by low-income communities of color. People living in low-income neighborhoods must either make do with the foods available in smaller local stores, which are very often less healthy and more expensive, or spend nearly 20 minutes traveling to the nearest large retailer. (http://thefoodtrust.org)
About 36,600 Omaha Public Schools students qualify for free or reduced lunch, which is 69.96% of the student population. (Omaha Public Schools, 2017)
When compared to other counties in the United States, Douglas County has:
- A high percentage of residents with low access to grocery stores (14.4% vs. 19.7%)
- A low percentage of school children qualify for free lunches (38.8% vs. 41.8%)
- A high amount of fast food restaurants per 1,000 residents (0.728 vs. 0.583) (http://food-access.healthgrove.com/l/5503/Douglas-County-Nebraska)
Metro area neighborhoods will be within 1 mile of a grocery store (or healthy food outlet) within the city and within 10 miles of a grocery store (or healthy food outlet) in rural communities. (USDA)
Examples of Access to Healthy Foods in Action:
Douglas County Health Department and UNL Extension continue to engage store owners in cultivating healthy promotions in their neighborhood stores to promote and sell healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
Omaha Public Schools’ South High implemented Second Chance Breakfast 2.0 to serve an additional 800 students with a healthy breakfast during a 5-minute break in the morning.
United Way of the Midlands engaged more than 30 partners in a Regional Planning Process to create a vision and plan around food insecurity, food supply, local foods/community gardens and systems changes to shorten the line.
The list of milestones and partners is ever growing
If you know of work happening in these Critical Health Issue areas or have additional Champions to list, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.