Healthy Eating

The Healthy Eating action area addresses health outcomes related to food consumption and food access in Multnomah County. Advocates of increased food access consider number and placement of grocery stores and other healthful food outlets; the transportation network that connects these outlets to customers; affordability of those foods and their availability day-to-day; concentrations of non-nutritive food outlets; opportunity to grow and prepare food; and the cultural appropriateness of available foods.

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 Multnomah County, obesity and diabetes are both serious health conditions that are increasing in prevalence. Demand for food assistance also continues to rise, especially during economic downturn throughout the state. While the Portland region does not appear to have extreme “food deserts,” there are areas with poor access to full-service grocery stores, including some areas with higher poverty or otherwise confounding factors (like lack of transportation).


Goal 5: Create Environments that Support Health and Quality of Life

5.1 Make healthy food more affordable and accessible than unhealthy food
Use public and private investments (i.e. physical infrastructure, institutional and wholesale purchasing, zoning, incentives and disincentives, and marketing) to make healthy food more affordable and accessible than unhealthy food for all community members regardless of neighborhood or demographics

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5.2 Develop coordinated food policy
Adopt robust, coordinated, and consistent policy across local governments and institutions that support healthy food choices

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5.3 Implement wellness policies 

Develop wellness policies to create healthy food environments where people work, play, worship, and learn to make the healthy choice the default choice by using place-based assessment methods (e.g. School Healthy Index, Congregational Health Index, or CHANGE tool) to identify assets and challenges

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5.4 Incorporate healthy food environment planning
Adopt healthy food environment planning (e.g. Health Impact Assessments and CHANGE assessments) concepts into community designing efforts and align with other state, regional, and local plans

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Goal 6: Increase Equitable Access to Healthy, Affordable, Safe, and Culturally Appropriate Food in Underserved Neighborhoods.

6.1 Promote healthy food financing initiatives 
Promote healthy food financing initiatives (e.g. Healthy Corner Store initiative and Fresh Food Financing initiative) with strategies (e.g. seed funding and capital) designed to promote retailers that provide access to healthy food 

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6.2 Survey, develop, and map community assets 
Involve communities in creating healthy food environments that fit their cultural needs (e.g. education, gardens, community kitchens, produce stands, and buying clubs) and publicize assets

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6.3 Reduce unhealthy food availability

Promote education, policy, and incentives in retail environments, faith based settings, and schools to reduce availability of unhealthy food and beverages decrease the number of unhealthy food outlets 

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6.4 Build local influence 
Use local influence to prevent federal preemption of local actions in improving equitable access in our regional food system

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Goal 7: Promote Individual and Community Health by Encouraging Healthy Food Choices

7.1 Promote health and food system skills 
Educate the community to encourage healthy food choices such as nutrition (e.g. a Master Eaters class), healthy shopping strategies, preparing and preserving healthy food, and understanding how food choices are shaped by our food environment

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7.2 Enhance community advocacy and education efforts

Inventory and enhance community groups’ advocacy and education efforts through private and public support of efforts with funding opportunities, space for organizing, outreach and technical assistance

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7.3 Promote community-wide health promotion campaigns 

Promote health promotion campaigns that increase the public’s knowledge and actions related to the impact of the food environment on their food choices

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Goal 8: Increase awareness of food and nutrition assistance programs

8.1 Promote enrollment in food assistance programs
Promote awareness and enrollment in existing assistance programs with targeted outreach and increase SNAP/WIC benefits for healthy eating choices 

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8.2 Increase acceptance of SNAP/WIC 
Encourage acceptance of vouchers through direct-market channels such as farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms, farm stands, and senior food meal programs and seek matching funds (private and government) to expand available resources

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8.3 Connect surplus food with need

Connect surplus food with need by expanding food bank donation channels, connecting gleaning programs to interested communities, and expanding what food banks can accept to meet the needs of the community

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