Similar to other urban centers, full-service-grocery stores have become a thing of the past in many locations throughout Dallas. That means many in the city lack access to healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Today, 49 percent of children residing in Dallas County are overweight or obese.
To draw attention to the fact that 700,000 Dallas County residents live in lower-income communities with limited access to grocery stores, and to help to create solutions, The Food Trust and Children at Risk wrote and publicly released a report on the problem.
Titled Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Retail in the Greater Dallas Area, the report used sophisticated GPS technology to show the lack of access to healthy foods in Dallas County, as well as the associated health outcomes. Equally important, it made the case for the implementation of a healthy corner- store initiative targeting underserved areas in Dallas.
Released at the Healthy Food Retail Summit held in Dallas in February 2015, the report laid out a series of strategies such as a healthy food fi nancing initiative to provide grants, loans and tax credits to bring new and improved supermarkets to lower-income, underserved communities, as well as a healthy corner store program to support existing small-store owners who want to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods in their stores.
In addition to the report, public health advocates in Dallas are also creating strategies to work with the owners of existing small and corner stores to improve and support the sale of healthier food options.