Study supports Heart Association call for New York Legislature to Increase Healthy Food Availability

Those living 1 mile or less from a grocery store have slower rates of calcium growth in coronary arteries.


The New York state Legislature approved a $500,000 investment in the Healthy Food & Healthy Communities fund in 2016 – far less than the $15 million that the American Heart Association and other health groups sought as part of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.


On Monday, Aug.15, a National Heart and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation gave even more reason to increase the amount of money allotted to make healthy food available to all New Yorkers.


The study looked at several factors contributing to heart disease – the limited availability of recreational facilities, healthy food stores, neighborhood walkability, and social environments. The data suggested that decreased access to heart-healthy food stores is the common thread in more rapid progression of coronary atherosclerosis in middle-aged and older individuals.


“This study offers yet another reason that the New York Legislature must increase the amount of money that goes toward improving the availability of healthy food everywhere in the Empire State,” said Bob Elling, chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans, yet a healthy diet can help prevent this. The American Heart Association asks our elected officials to heed this science, and make sure the resources are available so that every New Yorker can lead a longer and healthier life.”


The statistics don’t lie:

  • 3 million New Yorkers live in neighborhoods where there are not many food stores
  • 32 of New York’s 62 counties struggle with access to healthy food
  • Six out of ten adults in New York, and one-third of the state’s children, are at serious risk for diet-related diseases, which can be influenced by unhealthy nutrition



  • Medical expenses to treat chronic illnesses in New York State are estimated at more than $11.8 billion annually.

“We are sharing this information with our legislators now,” Elling said. “Providing access to food is a way to ensure healthy lifestyles – something all New Yorkers can enjoy.”

Information about the study can be found here:

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