Nutrition Education Efforts of the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project Partners

A session at The Priester National Extension Health Conference

Thursday 12th April, 2012

8:45am to 9:45am (EST)

Mary Wissmann, MS, RD, LD
University of Missouri Extension

Linda Rellergert, MS
University of Missouri Extension

For many low-income St. Louis residents, buying groceries in a food desert – a neighborhood with limited access to affordable and nutritious food – is a challenging chore. Supermarkets can be miles away from home and without access to a car; residents often rely on fast food, gas stations, or corner stores for daily meals. Corner stores are located throughout urban neighborhoods, but most lack fresh fruits and vegetables, nutritious snack options, and healthy beverages. Many city residents are surrounded by high-priced processed foods loaded with fat and sugar, which contributes to the growing obesity epidemic and numerous health disparities. The St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project works to add healthy options at small corner stores and markets. The project engages local store owners, community residents, University of Missouri Extension, City of St. Louis Department of Health and Department of Public Safety, and the St. Louis Development Corporation.

In addition to adding healthy options to corner stores, this project involves a significant nutrition education component. In-store education includes point-of-sale prompts highlighting healthy options. Store owners are educated on food safety, optimal storage, and shelf stability of more perishable items including fresh fruits and vegetables. In-store educational events and promotions encourage customers to purchase newly stocked healthy items. Nutrition education for the community includes SNAP-Ed classes, diabetes education and healthy corner store tours. Project success is measured by assessing healthy food inventory at the stores and fruit and vegetable intake of residents who participate in nutrition education classes.

The development of a resource guide for store owners and a toolkit for neighborhood leaders enables other communities with comparable access issues to implement a similar project. While access to healthy food is typically regarded as an urban issue, replication of this project in small town markets in rural areas is also highly likely.

About the speaker

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Mary Wissmann

MS, RD, LD. University of MO Extension Nutrition & Health Specialist in St. Louis County bio from Twitter

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Time 8:45am9:45am EST

Date Thu 12th April 2012

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