Food policy touches on multiple issues related to the production, distribution, and availability of the foods that we eat. This topic touches on issues from institutional food procurement practices, to reducing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
This Fact Sheet focuses on Healthy Food Procurement, a NYS Department of Health’s four priority strategies for preventing chronic disease. It can be used as a tool to support the development and implementation of local Community Health Improvement Plans and community Service Plans.
Healthy Food Procurement Policy for New York State -2012
Implementing standards for government food procurement has been recommended as a means for 1) improving the nutrition of people who consume government-sponsored foods; 2) modeling healthful nutrition to the wider public; and 3) increasing the marketplace demand for healthy foods. Proponents include the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the White House Task Force on the Prevention of Childhood Obesity. Some New York State agencies do currently have food purchasing and nutrition standards, but New York State does not have a statewide, multi-agency policy ensuring the healthfulness of the foods it procures for food service or food sales.
Developing and Implementing Food Procurement Policy in NYS Webinar
PowerPoint PDF: Healthy communities and healthy food systems through government procurement
PowerPoint PDF: Laws affecting healthy and local procurement in New York
PowerPoint PDF: 7 Steps to healthy procurement
Zoning against unhealthy food sources in New York City – 2010
Zoning is the most commonly used technique for determining how land can be used within a local geographic community. In response to the growing incidence of obesity across the United States, there have been increasing calls for using zoning to limit the presence of unhealthy food sources. Frieden, et al, for example, are among many public health advocates recommending communities use zoning to “limit the density of fast-food establishments” and “establish buffer zones between schools and recreation areas and businesses such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, and mobile food vendors.” The interest in removing or limiting these types of food retailers is motivated by evidence that neighborhood characteristics affect rates of obesity. For example, greater density of neighborhood fast-food outlets is associated with increased obesity.It is theorized that imposing limits on food establishments could encourage restaurants to improve the nutritional quality of their food, or at least provide alternative healthy meals. It is also thought that imposing limits will open the market to competition from healthier restaurants. A companion call to restricting unhealthy food sources has been for an increase in the availability of healthy food sources. New York City has undertaken this latter strategy through a number of programs, such as the FRESH program, Green Carts, and Health Bucks. Zoning is also often discussed in obesity prevention as a means for promoting physical activity. This paper focuses solely on the strategy of using land use zoning to limit unhealthy food sources, and more specifically on the goal of restricting fast-food retailers and/or formula restaurants (i.e., restaurants that have standardized menus, food preparation, décor, etc.).
Opportunities to Improve the Efficacy of the Food Stamp Program in New York City -2010
Hunger and food insecurity are serious problems in New York City. Approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers rely on emergency food programs such as soup kitchens and food pantries. Limited access to food and, in particular, limited access to nutritious food affect the development of health conditions ranging from stunting and poor brain development in children, to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease in adults. There is also a growing body of evidence that food insecurity can lead to obesity because the least expensive food available is typically high in calories and high in fat, but low in nutrients. The Food Stamp Program (FSP), the US’s largest food assistance program, is an opportunity to relieve hunger and its health effects, as well as obesity and its health effects in low-income communities. This paper explains how the FSP functions in New York City and New York State, and identifies areas of opportunity for maximizing good nutrition and healthy weight for low-income New Yorkers. The first set of opportunities address factors within the program that pose barriers to maximizing enrollment among eligible individuals. The second set concern the program’s intersection with food retailers and the availability and affordability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods. This policy brief suggests possible approaches to these two sets of issues.
Local Strategies to Reduce Sugar Sweetened Beverage Consumption Webinar
Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) has been associated with increased rates of obesity, with an estimated 20% of Americans’ weight gain in the past 30 years attributed to SSB consumption. Yet, SSBs are readily available in the places where we live, work, play and learn. Hosted by DASH-NY, the webinar focused on policies and practices that can be implemented in the workplace, government buildings and other public places intended to increase consumption of water and healthier beverages, instead of SSBs. Anne Sperling, MPH and Ashley Ledrer, MS, RD of The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will discuss effective strategies and their work for reducing consumption of SSB’s.
Leveraging Policy for Healthy Food Retail Webinar
Hosted by DASH-NY, Karp Resources, a firm with over 20 years experience working with food and agriculture businesses and organizations, identified specific policies that can improve and increase healthy food retail, and outlined key steps in taking advantage of policy opportunities, and provided a case studies of successful implementation.