AHA Applauds Speaker Johnson’s Plan for Food Equity in NYC

Access to affordable healthy food is good for our hearts and good for our city

 For immediate release

New York, NY August 1, 2019 — The American Heart Association supports New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s plan to combat food inequality. Affordable healthy food is a cornerstone to our mission, and we remain deeply committed to making sure all New Yorkers can live long, healthy lives. This means we must prioritize an equitable food system that promotes healthy food options. We applaud the Speaker for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with our city leadership.

Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet and good health is out of reach. Yet, more than 1.2 million residents of New York City live in lower income communities with limited access to healthy food retail.

The American Heart Association has been advocating for the following specific policy recommendations:

  • Expanding SNAP incentives programs such as Health Bucks to help New Yorkers afford fresh fruits and vegetables because 1 in 5 New Yorkers receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits, which reduce food insecurity and help households rise out of poverty.
  • Fund Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) that help food establishments open, expand, and improve in neighborhoods that need food and jobs the most because every neighborhood should have access to a place where people can buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase funding for programs like Shop Healthy NYC that encourage bodega owners and other retailers to increase stock and promotion of healthy foods in their neighborhood.

Every family should have access to the food that helps support a balanced diet and a healthier life. These programs will not only make our city healthier; they will also create jobs, create markets, and have the potential to lower health care costs.