A new report explores the impact of changing food and agriculture systems on public health in Clark County. Exploring the Clark County Food System will be used by the Clark County Food System Council as a tool for increasing and preserving access to safe, local and healthy food for all county residents. The report was a project of the Steps to a Healthier Clark County initiative led by Community Choices.
"The report examines how Clark County's food is grown or acquired and how it's distributed and consumed," said Tricia Mortell, program manager at Clark County Public Health. "It will be a useful tool as we address inequities in access to healthy foods. For example, some people in low-income neighborhoods live far from full-service supermarkets and lack direct bus service to the markets.
"As a result, they may be forced to make nutritional choices that promote obesity or have other health impacts. The report suggests community conversations we can have around these kinds of disparities."
Some issues discussed in the report include:
Lack of access to nutritious foods is related to health problems such as obesity and diabetes; in Clark County, 63 percent of adults are overweight or obese.
Data collected from 42 grocery and convenience stores in Clark County shows that healthier food choices are generally more expensive, with smaller stores providing fewer healthy options.
Surveys administered in the Fruit Valley and Vancouver Heights neighborhoods show that while a high percentage of families regularly shop at large grocery stores, 25 percent of the Fruit Valley respondents reported that transportation was a problem for them when they buy food.
Communities can adopt policies that provide consumers with information to make healthier selections when they eat meals away from home.