Health Department Recognizes New York City Bodegas and Community-based Organizations for Participating in Shop Healthy NYC, Promoting the Sale of Healthier Foods

Shop Healthy NYC increases access to healthier options by encouraging retailers to prioritize the stocking and promotion of health foods in stores

131 retailers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Harlem completed the Shop Healthy NYC challenge

June 14, 2017 — The Health Department’s Center for Health Equity is recognizing 131 bodegas and supermarkets in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx with a special citation for completing the Shop Healthy NYC program. Shop Healthy NYC works to increase access to healthier food in neighborhoods with high rates of diet-related chronic illnesses. Over the course of the program, 225 stores agreed to participate by accepting the Shop Healthy retail challenge to prioritize the stocking and promotion of healthy foods in their stores; 131 stores successfully completed the challenge. The Health Department will honor these stores, and community-based organizations which support Shop Healthy NYC, with three events this month. The kick off will be in the Bronx today at the Tremont Neighborhood Health Action Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., followed by events on June 27 in Harlem and June 28 in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

“Shop Healthy NYC brings residents and community-based organizations together to change the food landscape and overall wellbeing of our neighborhoods,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “All New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to access to fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy beverages. We are proud to recognize our partners for their invaluable work and support in making New York City healthier, one neighborhood at a time.”

Shop Healthy NYC was launched in zip codes 10457 (East Tremont, the Bronx), 10029 (East Harlem) and 11212 (Brownsville, Brooklyn) over the past two years. Residents of these neighborhoods are more likely to consume sugary drinks and less likely to eat fruits and vegetables when compared with New York City residents overall. In these neighborhoods, there are approximately 22 advertisements for unhealthy foods for every one advertisement for healthy foods. The disproportionate number of advertising for unhealthy products affect low-income communities where there is already less access to healthy food options.

Over five months, participants in Shop Healthy NYC must meet the following seven criteria in order to be recognized with a citation:

  1. Promoting healthy food and beverages with Shop Healthy NYC marketing materials
  2. Offering fruits and vegetables at the front of the store or at the cash register
  3. Displaying water and low-calorie refrigerated drinks at eye level
  4. Offering and promoting a healthy sandwich or meal combo at the deli counter
  5. Stocking low-sodium canned goods and canned fruit in 100 percent juice
  6. Stocking at least two healthy snack items
  7. Removing all advertising from the entry door

This month, the Department will also recognize the following community-based organizations for their continued work and partnership with Shop Healthy NYC:

  • ASPIRA of New York (Bronx)
  • Ms. Geneva's 50/50 (Bronx)
  • Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. (Bronx)
  • Smart University (Harlem)
  • Mont Lawn After School Program (Harlem)
  • Children’s Aid Society (Harlem)

“Healthy eating is an integral part of living a long and fulfilling life,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I am proud to support Health Commissioner Bassett and her team's work on the Shop Healthy NYC program, which is successfully combating the crisis of food deserts in Brooklyn through effective partnerships with local bodegas. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and water has proven to reduce rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. These local businesses are oftentimes the main sources of people’s daily nutritional intake, so it is imperative that these establishments provide healthy choices. As someone who has overcome a type 2 diabetes diagnosis by completely revamping my own diet, I understand the power of change in healing the body. I hope more businesses participate in this important initiative as we work to build a healthier borough.”

“My office has been proud to participate in the Shop Healthy program since its inception, and I thank the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for spearheading this effort to bring healthy foods to underserved neighborhoods,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “By offering healthier options to their customers these corner stores, delis, groceries and bodegas are doing their part to develop and maintain healthy communities, an especially important component of our ongoing #Not62 campaign.”

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, said, “All New Yorkers should have easy access to fresh produce, but far too many don’t. Health Department initiatives like Shop Healthy help improve options in communities with disproportionately high rates of diet-related chronic diseases, and incentivize stores that promote healthy food options.”

"Lack of neighborhood access to healthy foods is a major contributing factor to some of the worst ‎health disparities in the city," said State Senator Jose Serrano. "I applaud the local businesses who have committed to provide healthy food choices for our communities through the Shop Healthy NYC program."

“Working with Shop Healthy is an important part of ASPIRA of New York’s work in supporting the empowerment of Latino youth in the pursuit of educational excellence, leadership development and commitment to build a healthy neighborhood environment. For this reason, we continue to work with bodegas to maintain the changes that the health department has made,” said Carmen Diaz-Malvido Chief Executive Officer of ASPIRA of New York.

About the Neighborhood Health Action Centers
The Center for Health Equity’s Neighborhood Health Action Centers tackle the root causes of health inequities for residents in neighborhoods impacted by systematic disinvestment. The Action Centers offer coordinated health and social services, as well as community programs, under one roof. The Action Centers also provide hubs for people to become involved in efforts to improve the health of their neighborhoods.

About the Center for Health Equity
Founded in 2014, the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity amplifies the agency’s work to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes in neighborhoods with disproportionately high rates of chronic disease and premature death. The division takes a number of approaches to invest in key neighborhoods, eliminate the social barriers to good health and advance health equity throughout New York City. For more information on the Center for Health Equity, visit Center for Health Equity.

Follow the Center for Health Equity on social media using the #NYCHealthEquity.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez: (347) 396-4177,
PressOffice@health.nyc.gov