For Immediate ReleaseOctober 29, 2015
Supervisors endorse Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) on Food Day
San Rafael, CA – Although Marin County consistently ranks among the healthiest counties in the nation, too many residents suffer from persistent health inequities, including diet-related diseases and childhood obesity. The latest public health estimate shows that 20 percent of Marin residents are at risk of hunger on any given day – a staggering fact in one of the wealthiest counties in the country.
Marin County Board of Supervisors recently joined leaders across the United States in celebrating Food Day, a coordinated acknowledgement of the need to support equitable access to healthy and local food for all communities.
After declaring October 24 as Food Day with a unanimously supported proclamation, the Supervisors noted that not every neighborhood in Marin has equal access to healthy and affordable food. Since 2012, community leaders have worked with the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on a countywide effort called Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL), designed to provide a road map to improve healthy eating and active living in the places where residents love, work, learn and play.
“Research shows that simply having good produce available at a nearby grocery store is linked to an increase in eating fruits in vegetables,” said Reba Meigs, Public Health Program Manager. “We all know that a healthy diet combined with physical activity can reduce one’s risk for chronic diseases and obesity, and access is a key issue. Our commitment to HEAL is an intentional strategy to prevent poor health caused in part by food insecurity in the communities that need it the most.”
The Supervisors’ Food Day resolution tasked the Marin Food Policy Council and the Marin HHS Nutrition Wellness Program to work collaboratively with community partners, including youths, to create a data-driven strategic plan to address equitable food access. The Supervisors also accepted a report on equitable access to healthy and local food.
“We believe that equitable access to food is the cornerstone of a prosperous life, and this resolution is a mechanism to improve an awareness of food equity in Marin County,” said Rose Strauss, a member of the Marin County Youth Commission.
One way to prevent hungry citizens from missing meals is through California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP or CalFresh. Marin has one of the lowest participation levels in SNAP enrollment statewide.
The Marin Food Policy Council plans to present the Supervisors with prioritized recommendations by February 2016 for effective ways to reach its goals.
Reba MeigsProgram ManagerHealth and Human Services
1600 Los Gamos DriveSuite 350San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-3055Email: Reba MeigsMarin HHS website