2012-07-20 / Community

City Sets Plan To Fight Obesity

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar have announced two new healthy eating initiatives. Shop Healthy NYC, the Health Department’s new voluntary pilot program, asks bodegas to commit to prioritizing the stocking and display of healthy food and produce while aiming to minimize the availability of junk food. With more than 100 community groups and 150 food retail venues in two high-need Bronx neighborhoods – Fordham and West Farms – agreeing to the pilot, the program has the potential to impact 136,000 people. Two leading suppliers and distributors for city food stores – Jetro and Krasdale – will work with store owners to offer discounts on Shop Healthy foods and provide an easy to use order form for healthier items.

The Human Resources Administration has created “Cut the Junk,” the city’s first ever illustrated healthy eating and cost comparison booklet to show that cooking food at home can be healthier and less expensive than eating take out or fast food. The launch of the booklet will be followed by an educational subway campaign in late summer. The Deputy Mayor made the announcement at C-Town in the Bronx where she was joined by Senator Gustavo Rivera, Krasdale Foods Vice President of Government Relations Mitch Klein, Jetro/RD Director of Marketing Jack Segan, President of New Era Foods One Inc. Jose Perez and Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler.

“Considering that obesity and its health impacts, such as heart disease and diabetes, disproportionately affect low-income communities, it is critical that we make progress in increasing access to healthy food – and decreasing access to junk food – in these neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “Lasting change can be slow, but daily decisions as simple as buying an apple instead of a sugary beverage can have positive long-term health impacts.”

“Healthy communities need a healthy food environment. In the Bronx, nearly 70 percent of residents are obese or overweight and at higher risk for certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease,” said New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “Shop Healthy Bronx is an opportunity to spark lasting change to our food system, with nearly one hundred local stores already committing to participate.”

“Chronic illnesses associated with obesity, such as diabetes, can be devastating for families and costly for the City,” said HRA Commissioner Doar. “Our campaign sends a strong message that we need to ‘Cut the Junk’ from our diets, and that good nutrition can both save lives and taxpayer dollars. This common-sense guidance promoting less expensive alternatives to unhealthy foods can help stretch a family’s food budget further. We are very proud to join Deputy Mayor Gibbs and our partners at the Department of Health to promote good nutrition habits among all New Yorkers.”

“I commend the Mayor for coming to the Belmont section of the Bronx to celebrate Bronx small business owners who have taken on the challenge of helping to make their community healthier as participants in the Department of Health’s Shop Healthy Initiative,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I am excited that the Bronx CAN Health Initiative that I started with Borough President Diaz Jr. and health partners like Montefiore Medical Center and DOH will now expand to include grocery stores, bodegas, supermarkets and corner stores.”

“Getting more healthy food options into the hands of Bronx consumers has been a major goal of my office’s Bronx CAN initiative since its inception, and the Shop Healthy NYC pilot program will help to make that happen,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “CAN stands for ‘changing attitudes now,’ and by offering borough residents healthier food in their neighborhood stores we can give people an easy, affordable opportunity to take a first step towards better health.”

“Montefiore has been collaborating with the Department of Health for 18 months and we are thrilled to see this program, which reinforces our efforts to support the healthy eating habits of our community,” said Nicole Hollingsworth, Ed.D., Senior Director for Community and Population Health at Montefiore Medical Center. “The developments announced today are part of a comprehensive program that can facilitate healthy choices and enrich the lives for our patients and all members of the community.”

“As an integral member of the food distribution channel and a supporter of ‘Shop Healthy Bronx’ from the inception, Jetro/RD would like to reinforce our commitment to our customers in the Bronx,” said Stanley Fleishman, CEO of of Jetro/RD. “Jetro/RD has worked with organizations in the Bronx for several years to promote this healthy initiative. We are committed to yearly health fairs at our location to promote these healthy products and healthy lifestyle education. We feel that a partnership with the NYC Health Department and both the Bronx Borough Presidents office and Senator Gustavo’s office will help keep the focus on the subject, and pay rewards to the community.”

“Nutritious and healthy foods should not be a luxury,” said Mitch Klein, V.P. Government Relations, Krasdale Foods. “Krasdale Foods, C-town, Bravo and A.I.M. supermarkets are committed to providing these products at competitive prices in all of the communities we serve.”

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