The Healthy Cleveland Initiative’s Healthy Eating Committee is getting out in the community this summer to talk to residents about their experiences and aspirations for healthy food policy. This targeted community engagement is a continuation of the work started at the beginning of the year through a technical assistance grant from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. If you aren’t caught up to speed on the grant, check out our March update here!
While the committee initially reviewed and discussed three common sugar reduction policy options that have been implemented in other cities, which were researched for their feasibility in Cleveland and detailed here, we know that many roads lead to Rome and many policies that could impact health outcomes. Our ultimate goal through the project is improved health outcomes for our residents through reduced consumption of added sugar, improved dietary quality and sustainable healthy lifestyles. We want to be sure that we: 1) seek out all potential policy options, and 2) find out from residents what they are actually interested in seeing changed in their neighborhoods. Staying grounded in this value of community engagement and inclusiveness, the committee developed an outreach strategy for the next 6 months.
Throughout the summer, Healthy Eating partners will attend a variety of community fairs and festivals with a goal of sharing current neighborhood health data, educating families about the health impact of excess sugar consumption and asking for feedback about potential opportunities for community and policy changes that would help create healthier food environments. Based on this initial, high-level feedback, the committee will plan more in-depth events such as focus groups and community meetings in the fall to dig deeper into residents’ thoughts and desires. This feedback could be utilized to help inform policy and community change across any Healthy Eating Committee partner organization; collective impact is something to strive for with the shared goal of healthy communities!
Neighborhoods where you can catch Healthy Cleveland this summer for this outreach include:
The East and Southeast regions of Cleveland were chosen for targeted outreach with this work because they exhibit the highest rates of adult and youth obesity and diabetes, according to community survey data from the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. These chronic health conditions are largely connected to excess sugar consumption.
Do YOU have feedback, events you want us to attend, or the desire to get involved in the Healthy Eating Committee? Reach out to Lisa and Jessica, committee co-chairs, by clicking here!