The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

The Health in Healthcare That Needs to be Part of Our National Dialogue

The Health in Healthcare That Needs to be Part of Our National Dialogue

Shoppers and Trends

August 30, 2009

There is a great deal of debate across our great country on the appropriate solutions to “fixing healthcare”. Seemingly lost in this discussion is the improvement of our health, individually and collectively. Not to be too political, but shouldn’t this be one of the most important tenets to the discussion on healthcare? Nonetheless, there is an effort underway that attempts to improve the health of our country leveraging off the entrepreneurial spirit that continues to drive our nation.

For the past few years, a number of independent retailers across the country have engaged in a campaign to make a significant difference in the communities that they serve – through the improvement and access to fresh foods; through the reduction of childhood obesity and diet related diseases in low income communities – by providing consumers with greater diversity of quality and affordable healthy foods. Too many Americans live in communities that have too few choices for health and nutritious food. A growing body of research continues to reinforce the importance of fresh foods as well as the importance of healthier and nutritious choices and their relationship to better health outcomes. 

N.G.A. member and Shop Rite owner Jeff Brown is an outstanding example of how independents continue to make a difference in the communities that they serve, with a passionate focus on improving the lives of the people in “his” community. Jeff, with the involvement of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), developed a program that has made a difference in one of Philadelphia’s low income and “under served” neighborhoods. This program has successfully stimulated fresh food retailing on an even larger scale throughout the state with 68 Supermarkets funded by FFFI that now reach underserved rural and urban communities. It is estimated that this program improved the access to healthy foods to over 400,000 Pennsylvania residents! Now that is making a difference on the health of a great many people.  

We need to have more discussions and private and public funding for programs like this. These are the type of programs that improve people’s lives. They provide affordable and quality food options for people that have lacked choice in the past. Additionally, they provide jobs in areas that typically have the highest unemployment rates. For more information on how you could be part of an important movement to improve the access of affordable and nutritious food for all consumers, go towww.TheFoodTrust.org. Let’s have more discussion on improving health as we continue our national debate on healthcare.