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Pillar 3: Healthy Eating

The Healthy Eating Action Area addresses health outcomes related to food consumption and access in Sonoma County. Healthy Eating is influenced by access to healthy, safe, affordable foods and beverages and by individuals’ knowledge, attitudes and culture. Healthy Eating is an important factor of a sustainable food system. Poor diet and physical inactivity contribute to a number of health conditions: obesity, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke. In Sonoma County, obesity and weight gain are serious health concerns and are most prevalent in low-income populations.

A 2008 statewide study found that Sonoma County residents had over three times as many fast food restaurants and convenience stores nearby as grocery stores and produce vendors. A more recent in-depth study of four low-income neighborhoods in Sonoma County, with a combined population of nearly 24,000 and over 50% of the Hispanic population living in poverty, found limited access to affordable, healthy food. Instead, these neighborhoods were dominated by convenience stores and fast food outlets offering few healthy choices. Further, none of the food stores of fast food restaurants met standards for healthy food marketing. Fruit and vegetables were priced more that 10% higher than the county average and very few stores accepted WIC vouchers. Three of the four neighborhoods didn’t have an accessible farmers’ market. 

GOAL 5: INCREASE EQUITABLE ACCESS TO HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE, SAFE AND CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE FOOD AND BEVERAGE CHOICES

5.1 Include increasing access to healthy food and beverage choices and decreasing availability of unhealthy food and beverage choices in local general plans
5.2 Incorporate Health Impact Assessments in the review process for all projects and policies 
5.3 Support the implementation of wellness policies
5.4 Support the implementation of policies for publicly purchased food, food available on public premises and food obtained via public contracts to make healthy food and beverage choices standard in these settings
5.5 Support innovative strategies to increase the retail availability and affordability of healthy local food and beverages and decrease the prominence of unhealthy food and beverages

GOAL 6: CONNECT THE FOOD INSECURE WITH FOOD AND NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

6.1 Promote awareness and enrollment in food assistance programs
6.2 Increase point-of-sale acceptance of CalFresh and WIC
6.3 Connect surplus food with need

Goal 7: Increase Education About Local Agriculture, Nutrition and the Impact of Food and Beverage Choices

7.1 Promote growing food in home, neighborhood and school settings
7.2 Establish and expand affordable and accessible education programs for basic cooking, food preservation, nutrition skills and green practices
7.3 Promote farm trips and know-your-farmer programs