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Dallas, Texas, like many large cities across the country, has neighborhoods where corner stores greatly outnumber full-service grocery stores. At corner stores, kids are more likely to grab junk food rather than healthy fruits and vegetables—if they are even available. 49% of Dallas County children are either overweight or obese, but the community is coming together to make corner stores part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Children at Risk, a research and advocacy group, has been bringing organizations in Dallas together to research healthy food access and brainstorm solutions. They partnered with The Food Trust to release a report in early 2015, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Retail in the Greater Dallas Area, that identified gaps in fresh food availability and the relationship among healthy food access, diet-related diseases and neighborhood income levels.
Now, the group is launching the Healthy Corner Store Program.
The Healthy Corner Store program will engage the city of Dallas and community partners to work with existing small store owners in areas that are underserved by grocery stores. The program will provide store owners with marketing and retail expertise, and infrastructure and store improvements that will support the sale of healthier food options.
The program will also partner with nutrition education providers to tailor nutrition programming aimed toward improving healthier food choices and strengthening demand for healthier food products in these neighborhood stores.