Healthy foods build healthy minds and bodies.
These days, it is not always easy to find and eat healthy foods. Common foods can include a lot of added sugar, salt, fat, colorings, flavorings, fillers, preservatives and other chemicals.
Many stores do not carry vitamin-rich fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, they have calorie- and carbohydrate-rich foods – so-called "junk food." This problem is at its worst in places that are called "food deserts." Food deserts are urban neighborhoods and rural towns that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grain low-fat milk and other foods that make up a healthy diet. The areas in green in the map below are the food deserts in Greater Cincinnati.
When healthy food is available, some of us cannot afford it, do not know how to cook it, or cannot seem to make it taste good.
And even when everything else is right, fast food is everywhere and so tempting. But when food is cooked for us in restaurants and cafeterias, too often we lose control of our healthy food choices.
A healthy diet can help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, frail bones and several types of cancer.
What should I be eating?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion uses the MyPlate graphic at right to teach people about healthy eating. It recommends that people make half their plate fruits and vegetables, make half their grains whole grains and drink low-fat and fat-free dairy. To learn more visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
How can I eat better?
Several websites can help you plan and prepare healthy meals.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Million Hearts® initiative aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Its website offers heart-healthy recipes and meal plans. http://recipes.millionhearts.hhs.gov
At the USDA's What's Cooking website, users can search for easy-to-make healthy recipes. www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov
Another Department of Health and Human Services website, A Healthier You, offers recipes based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Users can search by preparation time: less than 30 minutes, less than 60 minutes and less than 90 minutes. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/recipes.html
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute lists heart-healthy recipes that include information about serving size, number of servings, calories and other nutrients on its Aim for a Healthy Weight website. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/recipes.htm
Interact for Health's Healthy Eating efforts are directed in two areas:
COOK FOR AMERICA®
Many children eat two or three meals at school. School could be where these children learn to eat well. However in recent years, highly processed food replaced the home-style cooking that school cafeterias used to serve.
Interact for Health has worked in recent years to improve students' access to healthy, affordable food by funding participation in Cook for America®. The three-phase program is helping schools serving more than 20,000 area kids to assess their current food program, develop plans and train staff to serve healthier meals within their current food system and budget. The schools are relearning how to obtain and cook healthy food from scratch. They have improved the quality and taste of the food that is served.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURE
No amount of urging can make someone eat healthier foods if there is nowhere to get them. One of our first efforts is to provide some grants that improve the availability of fresh produce, especially in food deserts. In this effort, we seek projects that improve the growing, transport, quality, cost and availability of fresh food. Our work has supported several projects across the region, from co-op grocery stores, to low-cost access to produce to farmer training programs. These infrastructure and distribution projects are helping get fresh produce to communities that need better access.
We have also funded a regional Food Policy Council. Its nearly 40 members come from a variety of backgrounds, including farms, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. They look at food policy and identify changes in systems that can improve access to healthy food, particularly for those who live in rural areas and food deserts. To learn more, read our Health in Action story about the council here, or visit its website here.
Prescription Drop Box Map
Traumatic experiences among children in Greater Cincinnati
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children need “safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments” to grow up to be healthy. A lack of healthy relationships and environments or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can lead to long-term health challenges and negative health outcomes.
Seven in 10 parents in the region reported that their child’s teeth were excellent or very good
The 2017 Child Well Being Survey (CWBS) asked parents and guardians in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to rate their child’s dental health and asked how many times their child had seen a dentist for preventive care in the past 12 months.
Access to health care among children in Greater Cincinnati
Most children in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have a usual place to go when they are sick or need advice about health.
Health insurance coverage among children in our region
Most parents and guardians reported that their child had health insurance coverage in the past 12 months.
Delayed health care among children in Greater Cincinnati
Most parents reported that their child received health care when it was needed.
Chronic medical conditions prevalent among Greater Cincinnati children
Asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety are the most commonly diagnosed chronic conditions among children in the Greater Cincinnati region, according to data collected through the 2017 Child Well-Being Survey.
Most Ohio adults think state should adopt health education standards
The Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of adults in Ohio. In 2017, OHIP asked Ohio adults about state health education standards.
Health and healthy behaviors among youth in our region.
The 2017 Child Well-Being Survey (CWBS) asked parents and guardians of youth in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky to describe the overall health of their child. CWBS also asked about specific health behaviors such as physical activity and sleep patterns.
Results show shift in perception from substance abuse being seen as moral failure to a chronic illness.
The Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that 7 in 10 Kentucky adults believe that addiction is a disease (70%). Attitudes towards addiction as a disease were the same both among respondents who have a family member or friend who has experienced problems with substance abuse, and among those who did not indicate such firsthand experience with addiction.
Kentucky adults continue to cite heroin use as causing problems for friends, family
The most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) and Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) has found that more than 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) report knowing someone who has trouble as a result of using heroin, while just under 2 in 10 Kentucky adults (16%) report knowing someone affected by heroin use.