The Ohio Health Issues Poll is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of adults in Ohio. A healthy diet is a significant contributor to good health. To eat a healthy diet, it is crucial that people have access to healthy food such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat items. It can be more difficult to eat a healthy diet if these foods are not available nearby. In 2017, OHIP asked Ohio adults about the availability of healthy foods in their neighborhood.
OHIP asked, “To what degree would you agree with the statement, ‘It is easy to purchase healthy foods in my neighborhood such as whole-grain foods, low-fat options, and fruits and vegetables?’” A majority of Ohio adults (81%) agreed that it is easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood.
Responses varied by income. Nearly 9 in 10 Ohio adults in households earning more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines1 (87%) agreed. That compares with fewer than 8 in 10 adults in households earning 200% FPG or less (77%).
OHIP asked those adults who did not agree that it was easy to buy healthy foods in their neighborhood, “What is the main reason it is difficult to purchase healthy foods in your neighborhood?” Cost (44%) or distance (45%) were most frequently cited as the main barrier to buying healthy foods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who eat a healthy diet with generous amounts of fruits and vegetables are less likely to be overweight or obese and have a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.2 But a healthy diet starts with access to healthy foods. These questions help us better understand who may not have access to healthy foods in Ohio, and for those who don’t have access, what barriers need to be overcome.
1 In 2016, 200% FPG for a family of four was $48,600.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Nutrition and Health are Closely Related. Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/introduction/nutrition-and-health-are-closely-related/.
Interact for Health regularly conducts research and collects data in order to monitor and evaluate our region’s health status and to measure public opinions about health policy.
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