Basic staples such as fresh produce, lean meats and dairy products are not readily available to an estimated 2 million Floridians, including many living in Bradenton. These residents find themselves living in food deserts with limited or low access to a supermarket or large grocery store.
With few options available, diets made up of fast food, chips, candy and other heavily processed foods that can contribute to diabetes and heart disease if often the only available option.
With March being Nutrition Month, the American Heart Association is underscoring the importance of consuming five servings of vegetables and four servings of fruit a day to maintain optimal health.
Increasing access to nutritious food is a key factor in reducing illness and mortality caused by heart disease, diabetes and obesity. That’s why our representatives in Tallahassee should consider helping corner store owners located in food deserts develop the capacity to be able to market and sell nutritious staples found in major grocery stores.
An estimated $6.7 billion is spent each year in Florida treating obesity-related diseases. Providing Floridians with greater access to nutritious, affordable food will help alleviate both these serious public health and economic concerns.
Robert Sanchez, MD, FACC, cardiologist, The Heart Institute