210573 Planning for Local Access to Healthy Foods

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:55 PM

Kimberley Hodgson, MURP, MS, RD , Planning & Community Health Research Center, American Planning Association, Washington, DC
Low-income, minority neighborhoods throughout the nation face disproportionate rates of obesity and chronic disease. This may be due in large part to easy access to fast-food restaurants and convenience stores and unavailability of larger food stores and other sources of healthy, affordable foods such as farmers' markets and urban agriculture. The comprehensive plan directly influences a community's urban design, land-use and zoning regulations, which influence the preservation of rural and peri-urban agriculture, the proximity of food outlets (e.g. grocery and convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, farmers' markets, urban agriculture) to schools and residential areas, and the prevalence and types of food outlets available in neighborhoods. Collectively, these factors fundamentally drive the availability of healthy and unhealthy foods in a community. Therefore, tools such as comprehensive planning and zoning regulations—both justified through local governments' police power to address the health, safety, and welfare needs of residents—can be used to protect and provide children, adolescents and adults access to healthy, affordable foods and support a sustainable food system. Based on the experiences of pioneering communities, this presentation will inform participants about the role of urban planning in developing and implementing local and regional policies and programs to improve food access and support environmentally sustainable food policy.

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain how urban planning related policies can influence the community food system. 2) Describe the role of the local comprehensive plan in improving food access at the local government level. 3) List 3 zoning regulations that can be used to preserve urban agriculture.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage the Planning & Community Health Research Center at the American Planning Association, where I work closely with a network of planning, health, and food policy researchers, organizations and institutions in the research and development of healthy, sustainable communities. In addition, I co-teach graduate courses in the Department of Urban Affairs & Planning at Virginia Tech on the overlap between planning, sustainability, nutrition, food policy and public health. Prior to my work with APA, I assisted the City of Alexandria in the development of it’s sustainability vision and plan, providing the City with expertise in community health and food systems. I have also worked extensively in the research, development and implementation of a variety of food policy and nutrition programs targeting youth and young adults in New York City, Boston and Southwest Virginia—farm to school, school wellness policy, nutrition education, nutrition communication, and health promotion. I received a Master of Science degree in Food Policy & Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Nutrition Education from Tufts University and a Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree with a specialization in community health and food systems planning from Virginia Tech. I am also a Registered Dietitian.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.