October 7, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 041-15
Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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

Health Department, State Senator Serrano Recognize Store Owners for Participating in Shop Healthy Program

Shop Healthy NYC aims to increase access to healthier food and beverages in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and limited access to nutritious food

The program increased promotion and access to healthier foods in 35 East Harlem stores and will soon expand to zip code 10035

The Health Department’s Center for Health Equity and the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office today joined New York State Senator Jose M. Serrano (D/District 29) outside Mi Mexico Mini Market , an East Harlem bodega, to recognize store owners in the community for participating in Shop Healthy NYC. Shop Healthy NYC aims to increase access to healthier food in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and limited access to nutritious food and beverage options. This year the program increased promotion and access to healthier foods in 35 East Harlem neighborhood stores, expanding the proportion of advertising for healthy foods and the stocking of healthier food options in nearly 30 percent of the bodegas and supermarkets in zip code 10029. Twenty stores reached all seven of Shop Healthy NYC’s criteria and were recognized with proclamations from Senator Serrano.

“By providing increased advertising and access to healthier foods and beverages in their businesses, local food store owners can make a positive impact on the wellbeing of the communities they serve,” said La’Shawn Brown-Dudley, Acting Assistant Commissioner of the East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office. “More often than not, communities of color are faced with too few options for foods like fruits and vegetables while being targeted by marketing for junk food or sugar sweetened beverages. Shop Healthy NYC works to improve the retail environment in local corner stores and supermarkets to give East Harlem residents opportunities to buy healthy foods and beverages.”

“Residents of East Harlem suffer from some of the worst health disparities of any community in New York City," said State Senator Jose M. Serrano. "Access to healthy foods is a major step towards alleviating this chronic problem. I applaud the local businesses who have committed to provide healthy food choices for our communities through the Shop Healthy NYC program. Shop Healthy NYC aims to change this epidemic by engaging our local supermarkets, bodegas, and restaurants to offer the healthy food options that our communities deserve. I commend Shop Healthy NYC for their hard work on improving the overall health and wellness of our neighborhoods."

Shop Healthy NYC aims to increase access to healthier food in neighborhoods with high rates of chronic illnesses that are related to diet. 28% and 32% of East Harlem and Central Harlem residents are overweight or obese, respectively, compared to 33% and 22% of the city as a whole. Obesity can lead to several chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease. In East and Central Harlem, almost 14% of adults have diabetes compared to 10% of adults in other NYC neighborhoods. Diabetes is twice as common among New Yorkers who are obese and both conditions disproportionally affect low-income communities where there is less access to healthy food options.

Shop Healthy NYC engages community residents as partners in changing the environments of their local food stores. Working along with local business to promote activities that increase demand for healthier foods and improve the healthfulness of their store environment, Shop Healthy creates positive sustainable changes in the neighborhood’s food environments.

Shop Healthy NYC is a program of the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity, which is leading the charge to make sure that all communities have the same opportunity to be healthy and well.

For more information about Shop Healthy NYC, call (212) 996-8674.

###