Risk Factor: Access to Food
Eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer prepackaged and processed foods contributes to longer and healthier lives. A person’s diet is determined by individual choice and access to food. Do communities have access to supermarkets and grocery stores with healthy food options? Can they afford them? Minority communities are more likely to answer ‘no’ to these questions, thus putting them at higher risk for unhealthy diets and consequently increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and premature death.
National data shows that African American and Latino households are twice as likely to report that they DON’T have access to nutritious affordable food compared to white households.1
Nationally, African Americans are 44% more likely to die from stroke, 30% more likely to die from heart disease, and more than twice as likely to die from diabetes compared to the white population.2,3
Similar statistics are reported in the Greater New Haven area, where African Americans are more than twice as likely to report food insecurity, 78% more likely to be obese, and twice as likely to be diabetic compared to whites.4<\sup>
The New Haven City Transformational Plan (CTP) reports that 40% of residents from New Haven’s lowest resource neighborhoods reported not having enough money to pay for food in the past 30 days. Because of this upsetting reality, the CTP has made increasing food access in the greater New Haven area one of its four main health targets over the next five years.5
Inspirational Innovation - New Haven Farms
New Haven Farms is a nonprofit organization that hosts on-farm wellness programs combining agricultural, nutritional, and cooking education to combat the intersecting crises of diabetes, obesity, environmental degradation, and poverty. Consisting of eight farms, the organization grows organic fruits and vegetables and distributes them to families that are affected by poverty or individuals who are at-risk for chronic diseases.
1. Neff RA, Palmer AM, McKenzie SE, Lawrence RS. Food Systems and Public Health Disparities. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. 2009;4(3-4):282-314.
2. Healthy People 2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [Internet]. 2016.
3. Kenneth D. Kochanek MA, Sherry L. Murphy BS, Jiaquan Xu MD, Betzaida Tejada-Vera MS. Deaths: Final Data for 2014. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; June 30, 2016 2016.
4. Abraham M, Buchanan M. Greater New Haven Community Index. New Haven, CT: DataHaven;2016.
5. New Haven City Transformation Plan. 2016.