Saturday, January 30, 2010

New corner store food study

Photo: Community youth participated in a healthy food preparation demonstration last fall.

A study by Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education shows what Bayview Hunters Point residents have known for a long time, that finding a source of nutritious food can be difficult. We live in a world of corner stores where we are not likely to find much fresh produce.

The study, published last October, concludes that, on average "only 11 percent of the items stocked by a typical urban corner store would even be considered healthful."

Finding nutritious food is even more of a challenge for young people who lack transportation to supermarkets located outside the neighborhood, and who have no memory of a time when fruits and vegetables were plentiful here, even at corner stores.

The study found that 53 percent of the fourth- to sixth-graders studied shopped in corner stores, and many shopped in corner stores both before and after school, five days a week, consuming up to 3,560 calories per week in junk food and soft drinks.

Even children eligible to participate in free or low-cost school nutrition programs chose instead to snack on less healthy foods. Those children offered a variety of explanations including that transportation arrives too late for school breakfast programs, that they don't like the food the schools offer, or that "it's just not cool" to eat in the cafeteria, under the watchful eyes of adults when they can buy a snack at the store to nibble at their leisure.

Learn more about the study online. An emerging Healthy Corner Store Network can be found on Google Groups. Search for "Healthy Corner Stores Network" or click here.

Learn more about the struggle to improve food access on this blog.

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