Online Program

From food desert to mobile food access in an underserved community

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Vivien M. Morris, MS, RD, MPH, LDN, Policy and Planning, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Azzie Young, PhD, MS, MPA, Mattapan Community Health Center, Boston, MA
Sharon Callender, RN, MPH, Mattapan Community Health Center, Boston, MA
The Mattapan community of Boston is rich in cultural diversity. More than 93% of residents are people of color. Eighteen percent of families and 25% of children live below poverty. Access to healthy food is limited with no full service grocery stores. Thirty five percent of adults in Mattapan are obese, the highest of all Boston neighborhoods. Mortality rates for diabetes are significantly higher in Mattapan than for Boston overall. (Boston BRFSS 2011). Since 2006, the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition has worked collaboratively with the Mattapan Community Health Center to address obesity. A farmers market was the first project of the coalition, with discounted sales to SNAP participants. A youth powered mobile farm stand further increased healthy food accessibility. With support from the local health department, the Healthy on the Block project has increased availability of healthy foods in convenience stores. To support cooking skills acquisition, cooking classes and demonstrations were done at the farmers market, local stores and youth and elder programs. The Mattapan Farmers Market and Mobile Farm Stand have become institutionalized in Mattapan with increased sales to SNAP participants. The Healthy on the Block project has increased access to fruits, vegetables, low sugar, whole grain, and low fat foods. A multi-faceted approach to improve the food environment in low income communities must be taken to affect obesity and related health conditions. Measurable statistical health impact results may take longer to realize in this approach but should have more far reaching results.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe culturally competent approaches for transforming the food environment in a low income community. Describe effective ways to actively engage community residents in public health approaches to obesity prevention.

Keyword(s): Community Capacity, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health nutritionist trained in public health and dietetics and with over twenty-five years clinical nutrition and community health experience. My professional interests include health equity, community leadership development, obesity prevention, and healthy food access.
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.