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Hopkins study helps Charm City corner stores go healthy

If you can't beat them, join them. That seems to be the philosophy behind a Johns Hopkins study seeking to find a solution to Baltimore's "food deserts." Many Baltimore neighborhoods do not have a local grocery store or supermarket that offer healthy eating alternatives to combat the glut of fast food that is available.

Hee-Jung Song, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is studying whether Baltimore's ubiquitous corner stores, might just be the solution.

Here's an excerpt:

"In Baltimore, corner storeowners increased their stocking, promotion and sales of healthier foods and customers showed a tendency to buy and prepare more fruits and vegetables through one such program.

"Inner-city Baltimore is a 'food desert" with many fast food restaurants and corner stores, but few supermarkets," said lead author Hee-Jung Song, Ph.D., a researcher in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. "These food environments result in less availability of and accessibility to healthy food and impact on the kinds of food consumed by low-income residents."

The study appears online in the journal Health Promotion Practice.

The Baltimore Healthy Store program provided monetary incentives or free food to store owners, coordinated education about nutrition and developed guidelines for the owners to follow to help overcome language and cultural barriers. This is important, since most corner storeowners in Baltimore are Korean-American, while the customers largely are African-American."

Read the entire article here.

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