Discussion

LETTER: Access to Healthier Food Options Key to Ending Health Disparities

March 11, 2019, 2:34 PM HST
* Updated March 14, 1:43 PM
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Read the latest national rankings on state health and Hawaii inevitably is listed as one of the healthiest states. Those rankings however veil health disparities that exist in our state.

The high cost of living, especially for food and housing, can leave Hawai`i’s most vulnerable populations with challenging food choices. Often, the healthy food options are also the most expensive. This disincentivizes choosing more nutritious options and helps to drive health disparities among Hawai`i’s most underserved individuals and families.

The Food Basket is proud of the work that we do to provide food to those in need. As part of its commitment to improve its clients’ health it is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) to educate food donors to select healthier food options when contributing. Using healthy food drive guideline materials developed by AHA nutrition volunteers at the University of Hawaii, and approved by the AHA’s national Science Department, The Food Basket is helping to encourage its food donors to select healthier options when making donation purchases. By increasing healthier food options available to our clients and educating them about the benefits of using the healthier options, we hope to contribute to the elimination of health disparities in the communities we serve.

The AHA’s Hilo Heart Walk on March 30 will provide Hawai`i Island residents the opportunity to not only to support the AHA’s outstanding efforts to reduce heart disease and stroke in Hawaii, but also to contribute a healthy food item to benefit the The Food Basket’s clientele.

We are proud to collaborate with the AHA to help to improve nutritional food access to all in Hawai`i.

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Healthy food donation guidance can be found at the Heart Walk registration site at www.HiloHeartWalk.org. Please consider participating in the Heart Walk and bringing a healthy food donation to the event to help support improved health for the under-served residents in our community.

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