Healthying Up the Quickie Mart

Most folks know that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is more healthful than one high in Big Macs and Crunch Wraps. But if you live in a low-income urban area, there’s probably not going to be a Whole Foods or even a Wal-Mart available. Some neighborhoods don’t even have a supermarket at all, and if you don’t have a car, it makes eating healthy a challenge. Especially since these neighborhoods usually have a fast-food outlet or two. This lack of access is part of the reason diabetes and obesity rates in the inner city are high.

But in two cities, innovative programs are bringing healthy foods to inner-city neighborhoods. In Oakland, California, People’s Grocery brings produce and healthy snacks to West Oakland and helps people set up community gardens to produce their own food.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, a Johns Hopkins University professor is reaching out to convenience-store owners in neighborhoods without supermarkets and encouraging them to stock healthier items, like whole-grain breads and cooking sprays.

An article in The Baltimore Sun shows how the program is bringing shopkeepers and customers together to focus on health.

‘I’m in the city a long time, these are my neighbors, my customers, my friends,’ said Grace Lyo, whose store on Mount Street in West Baltimore … is joining the program.

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