Philly Project Aims to Get Urban Stores to Sell More Produce

Officials in Philadelphia are hoping to cut obesity rates among inner-city residents by encouraging corner stores to stock and sell fresh fruit and vegetables, the Washington Post reported June 8.

The $900,000, federally funded project, which involves 632 stores, seeks to green up so-called ‘food deserts‘ in Philadelphia — communities where residents have little access to fresh produce. Philadelphia has the highest obesity rate among the 10 largest cities in the U.S.

So far, there’s no research showing a causal link between access to healthy food and better health outcomes, but Philadelphia officials will study the impact of their Get Healthy Philly partnership with local food stores.

Project officials work with store owners to get them to stock more healthy foods, including buying refrigerators for storing produce and connecting stores with wholesalers. Store owners say that purchases of fruit and vegetables has increased alongside supply. Study results will be published next year.

 (Photo © Paul Lowry via Flickr)