Healthy Food Get Better Display at Shops in Fight Obesity Plan by Bloomberg

Jul 19, 2012 06:21 AM EDT | By Sriranjini

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Fruits and veggies get a more prominent place in supermarkets, in the Bronx. (Photo :

Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City has come up with a new plan to combat the rising obesity in his city.

The Bloomberg administration has struck a deal with the grocery stores and bodegas in some of New York's poorest sections, to display health food more prominently than junk food.

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This change is already visible in some of the supermarkets and groceries in the Bronx. The first thing a shopper is likely to notice in these stores is fresh fruits and vegetables. Those food, which are deemed as unhealthy have been placed way at the back of the stores.

Health officials hope that the change in the display will result in a switch to eating healthier food on the part of the customer.

'Shop Healthy' banners will also be placed strategically near entrances of these shops.

Eighty of the 170 bodegas and supermarkets in two Bronx neighbourhoods have signed on. They agreed to display fruits and vegetables at the front of the store or by the cash register, put water and low-calorie drinks in coolers at eye level instead of sugary soda, and remove ads, featuring junk food, from the door.

"We believe that to tackle the epidemic of obesity, we need to do it on multiple fronts," Linda I. Gibbs, the city's deputy mayor for health and human services, said in a news conference at the C-Town. Gibbs praised the program for integrating community groups and local retailers into a broader effort to make sure shoppers have easy access to, and awareness of, healthier food options.

 Most are of the opinion that fresh foods are more expensive than junk food. This wrong notion is said to be one of the contributing factors to high obesity in poor neighbourhoods. But Senator Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, hopes that the 'Shop Healthy' program will erase such misconceptions.

However, some bodegas and supermarkets have refused to play along with this plan. They still prominently display high-sugar, high-calorie food, and maintain the stance that people should be allowed to buy whatever they please.


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