Online Program

Best food forward: One community's strategies for steering the food environment towards health

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Elizabeth Foulkes, MPH, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Andrejs Galenieks, MArch., MPH, Department of Health Policy, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Dora Barilla, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Community Health Development, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA
Eddy Jara, DrPH, Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Juan Carlos Belliard, PhD, MPH, Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Accessibility to healthy food may have a greater influence than nutritional knowledge and attitudes on how people make food-related decisions. Recognition of this and its health consequences has led to food environment factors being increasingly addressed both as public health and city planning concerns. In a small city internationally renowned for its population's vibrant longevity, efforts to prevent an influx of fast food restaurants expanded to incorporate analyses and strategies addressing the wider food environment. Community workshops visioning for long-term local and regional health prioritized areas of concern including inadequate healthy dining options and access to farmer's markets and community gardens. Use of the Retail Food Environment Index (RFEI) to analyze retail food outlets within city bounds revealed limited options that result in community members frequently driving across city limits for wider dining options, illuminating the need for making healthy food choices within the city accessible, attractive, and ubiquitous. Developing such meal options within walking distance from major activity hubs would additionally benefit the local economy, reduce traffic, and help create a community culture and identity synonymous with well-being. Strategies to implement local policies limiting unhealthy retail food venues and incentivizing healthy, sustainable businesses are also called for. A coalition committed to bridging the interests of city officials and community members continues to play a key role in advancing these food environment goals. Combined civic and public health efforts to create environments where healthy food choices become the easy, default options have great potential to impact long-term community health.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of community engagement in the food environment visioning process Share strategies and tools used for improving local food environments List community benefits to improving the local food environment

Keyword(s): Community Involvement, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health graduate student and have been actively organizing and participating in initiatives to engage more of the local community in creating a healthier food environment.
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.