A BFIT Partnership
Community Foundation of Broward has granted $70,000 to the Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC) to expand a partnership of more than 20 of the best and brightest Broward organizations. The collaborators will work together to improve access to healthy foods, safe physical exercise and nutritional education for 34,000 Lauderdale Lakes residents.
The grant will extend the successful Healthy Community Zone model already in place in several other Broward cities. This model identifies a community’s resources (green spaces, fresh produce options, respected community leaders), then connects and supports them to promote healthy living. The idea is to let communities shape the most sustainable solutions for their unique neighborhoods and needs. Success will be measured by improvements in residents’ weight, blood pressure and ability to walk (i.e. how far, how fast and how long).
In dozens of low-income neighborhoods across Broward, nutritious, affordable, and high-quality food are almost impossible to find. What can be found, often in great abundance, are convenience stores and fast food restaurants that sell inexpensive, high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods
and offer few healthy options. Neighborhoods such as these are often called “food deserts.”
BRHPC will work to connect Lauderdale Lakes residents to a network of affordable healthy food providers. The Food Trust reports that those with access to fresh produce have lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity than those living in food deserts. Fresh produce prices are also a major factor for low-income families. According to the American Heart Association, lowering the price of fruits and vegetables by 30% can save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years - that’s the population of Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach and Oakland Park combined!
Find your local Farmer’s Market with this online BRHPC tool.
Harvard University reports communities with easy access to recreational
facilities such as parks, walking trails and bike paths have populations
with lower rates of obesity than those that do not. Ultimately how we learn,
live, play, and interact in our community influences how healthy we are.
Broward’s car culture; perception of crime; and lack of accessible green space contributes to sedentary lifestyles and rising obesity rates. As part of the BRHPC grant, walking assessments will be conducted to identify the safety, accessibility, comfort, and convenience of walking to identify opportunities to increase physical activity.
Check out Broward's guide to Safe Jogging Trails.
Nutritional education and cooking skills are important elements of the BRHPC grant. Two national studies released in 2015 report that as little as 35 hours of nutritional education decreases a person’s weight and increases their intake of fruits and vegetables. Despite this, school children will have received only 14 hours of nutritional education by the time they graduate high school.