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Corner Stores Are Key to Building Healthier Communities

April 9, 2015 | Community News

Legislative tour of corner storesIn 2013, New Jersey was one of six states that saw a slight increase in adult obesity. In addition, the state’s rate of obesity in toddlers residing in low-income communities is the second highest in the nation.

New Jersey’s Healthy Corner Store Initiative is working to turn this around by making small, neighborhood retailers a part of the solution to obesity and diet-related disease. The initiative links community partners with corner store owners to help stores stock, market and sell healthy, affordable food to their customers.

The statewide initiative is being led by the American Heart Association, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and The Food Trust, with support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Far too many New Jerseyans live in communities where there are no well-stocked grocery or convenience stores in their neighborhoods, leaving them unable to make healthy food choices,” says Corinne Orlando, director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association. The USDA estimates that 340,000 New Jersey residents are living in these “food deserts” across the state.

“We’re excited to see small food store interventions are showing promise in improving store offerings and increasing sales and consumption of healthier food,” stated Darrin Anderson, deputy director, NJPHK. “Today, there are approximately 80 stores participating in the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the goal is to expand the overall state initiative to more than 150 corner stores by year-end.”

As part of creating awareness of the initiative tours were held at Camden’s Fayer’s Market on April 2 and April 9. Tour participants included: Assemblyman Lou Greenwald Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt, Assemblyman Angel Fuentes, Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, Camden Mayor Dana Redd and other community leaders.

Follow the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store initiative on Twitter at #njcornerstores.

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