Philadelphia Unveils Controversial Healthy Foods Plan
City of Philadelphia has an ambition plan how to deal with it’s obesity problem – and some Philadephinas might not like it! Several national food experts point out that the ‘more healthy foods’ plan might even violate citizens’ civil rights.
Philadelphia has made a $900,000 investment to bettering the health of its residents. The goal is to put healthy food on every table, starting with the launch of healthier selections in 632 corner stores. For these small stores, it’s a risky business move to turn them into greengrocers, due to the limited shelf life and knowing what will and won’t sell. Giving more access to fruits and vegetables instead of candy and junk food is their goal so that residents don’t have to always go to the large supermarkets for food.
“More parents will have a fresh food retailer right in their community — a place that sells healthy food, at reasonable prices, so they can feed their families the way they want,” first lady Michelle Obama said when she launched the White House’s $400 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
Obesity is costing the United States $147 billion each year in treatments, but will this new move ensure people will choose healthy instead of unhealthy? Even with all the research done, no one has found any correlation between weight and access to healthy food.
“It’s a theory that makes sense, and it’s intuitive,” says Helen Lee, a policy fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, whose research focuses on racial disparities in health outcomes. “But my concern would be that we’re investing in a strategy that may not be very promising. If you’re investing government money, you should carefully be evaluating how much you’ve invested and how much you’re getting out of that.”
The city of Philadelphia has decided to take on the job of finding out exactly how the relationship between food choices and obesity is linked. They will use the corner stores to conduct a study of what happens when nutritious options are introduced into neighborhoods that have typically gone without.
“Availability of these products is definitely changing,” says Giridhar Mallya, director of policy for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. “Now we’re waiting to see what is actually happening with people’s purchases.”
For those of you who aren’t obese, don’t worry your gummy bears and snicker bars will still be available – they just want to see if you will pick an apple over a bag of potato chips! Do you think this new idea will work?