Group wants to work with grocers to help fight obesity
Some Houston community leaders and groups are getting together to try and help people in high risk neighborhoods have more access to healthier food.
These leaders have formed the Houston Grocery Access Task force. Dr. Robert Sanborn of Children at Risk explains that the problem in these neighborhoods is access.
“While we have big grocery stores, those big grocery stores aren’t in certain communities. We are trying to figure out how to serve those communities,” Sanborn said.
Sanborn thinks providing parents and children access to healthier food will help fight obesity.
“Parents really want good information on how their kids can not be obese. Once they learn this stuff, we need to make sure there is access for them there. And we need to make sure that the only choice for them is not unhealthy food,” Sanborn explained.
Sanborn told KTRH solving this problem won't be easy, especially for businesses that are wary of going into these neighborhoods because of safety and shoplifting concerns.
Sanborn asked, “Can we make it an investment that is worthy of supermarkets, and can we make it so they can change the model to serve some of these neighborhoods?”
The numbers show Houston has fewer major supermarkets per capita than most major cities. It’s a big problem, but Sanborn says a solution may already exist.
“The best way to go is to look at some of these smaller stores that are already there and see if there is an economic incentive for them to carry some healthy fruits and vegetables,” Sanborn explained.
Sanborn says he'd like to work with the bigger grocery chains to solve the problems.