Decreasing Availability of Unhealthy Food

It's easy to say that a person's health is their own responsibility, but in many suburban Cook County communities, the problem is bigger than one person. Some communities simply don't have grocery stores; others are filled with nutrition-poor fast food. Either way, if the food options in a community come only in 'bad' and 'worse', community members are going to pay the price with their health.

If your organization is interested in helping make healthy, nutritious food easy and convenient, here are some good places to start:

  1. Making healthy and unhealthy food/drink more equal in price.

    • About: A key reason that it’s so hard to get and stay healthy is the fact that unhealthy options are cheaper and more available. Many organizations are trying to reverse this trend and have research available to support you as you join this work.
    • The following organizations offer data, experience and strategies to help you start addressing the price of healthy versus unhealthy food in your community: Yale Rudd Center - They are the owners of a significant amount of data around weight and food price.
      Bridging the Gap – A nationally recognized research program dedicated to improving the understanding of how policies and environmental factors influence diet, physical activity and obesity among youth, as well as youth tobacco use.
      Center for Science in the Public Interest – As a leading voice in the movement towards a food system that defaults to healthy, nutritious, sustainable food, CSPI works to provide the facts needed to make the healthier choice the easier choice.
  2. Setting nutritional standards for local vending machines.

    • About: Vending machines are a key source of food for many, especially school children. By working with schools to secure healthy snacks and the equipment to handle and maintain them, you can make a big difference in the health of local kids.
    • Resources to help you create this in your community:
      American Heart Association – Leading a nationwide movement to improve the food and physical activity options within schools. They’re a powerful force you can join your efforts to.
      Public Health Law and Policy – Clarifies and demystifies the law, helps develop ready-to-go model policies as well as "train the trainers" around public health issues.
      CDC Nutritional Standards for Food in Schools – Hosts a wealth of resources, information and research around existing nutritional standards in schools, as well as standards communities are currently aspiring to.

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