This week, news spread that benefits that were extended to help Americans weather the recession will end for many Americans at the end of the year. Nutrition also made big news this week, as NYC’s Department of Health called for a national nutrition database for better consumer information, thousands of restaurants nationwide signed on to an initiative to provide healthier meals for kids, and a study found that proximity to fast food and income are the strongest factors in the food choices people make.
Economy Faces a Jolt as Benefit Checks Run Out, The New York Times, 7/10/11
Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability. By the end of this year, however, many of those dollars are going to disappear, with the expiration of extended benefits intended to help people cope with the lingering effects of the recession.
DOH wants national nutrition database, Crain’s New York Business, 7/11/11
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, along with 34 other health organizations, is calling on the federal government to create a national nutrition database that would allow consumers to compare grocery food products online, based on their nutritious value. The idea is to “foster competition for healthier products, driving the entire food supply to be healthier,” said Lynn Silver, director of the Office of Science and Policy.
15,000 restaurants order healthy new kids meals, USA Today, 7/12/11
More than 15,000 restaurants in the U.S., representing 19 different chains, are participating in a voluntary new initiative called Kids LiveWell. Many meals that fit into the program will carry an icon of a red apple. They must include an entree, side dish and beverage and contain 600 calories or less, plus meet other nutritional criteria.
Access to grocers doesn't improve diets, study finds, Chicago Tribune, 7/12/11
The study, which tracked thousands of people in several large cities for 15 years, found that people didn't eat more fruits and vegetables when they had supermarkets available in their neighborhoods. Instead, income — and proximity to fast food restaurants — were the strongest factors in food choice.
More fruits and vegetables for neighborhood, The Queens Courier, 7/12/11
The renovation and expansion of two supermarket sites in Jackson Heights and Corona will offer options for shoppers who want more variety and access to better produce in areas designated by the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) initiative.