Will Philadelphia Experiment Alter the Course of American Food Policy?

With the highest obesity rate and poorest population of America’s big cities, Philadelphia is launching an ambitious plan to increase residents' access to healthy food, reports Sarah Kliff.
June 9, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The cornerstone of Philly's plan is the corner store, where city officials are focusing their efforts to increase access to healthy foods by supplying some owners with new fridges to store produce and connecting them with wholesalers from whom they can buy at lower prices.

The plan is being funded by the federal government as part of the Obama administration's goal of eradicating food deserts by 2017.

However, as Kliff points out, "even as the White House has scaled up such efforts, a growing body of research has questioned its basic assumption: that people will eat better if given better options...To date, no study has found a causal relationship between improving access to healthy foods and improving health outcomes."

"That's where Philadelphia comes in," says Kliff. "Along with building the country's largest network of healthy corner stores, the city is conducting the largest study to date of what happens when nutritious options are introduced into neighborhoods that have traditionally gone without. It's measuring what people bought before, what they're eating now and whether that improves."

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Published on Friday, June 8, 2012 in The Washington Post
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