At A Glance
Nearly 520,000 Missouri residents in low-income communities now have increased access to fresh produce at local corner stores. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) partnered with the University of Missouri Extension program to expand Stock Healthy, Shop Healthy (SHSH) programs across the state. The program aims to improve access to healthier foods in rural and low-income areas. With the support of SHSH, 32 Missouri corner stores now offer affordable, healthier food choices
Public Health Challenge
In 2014, Missouri's adult obesity rate was 30.2%. Following a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help prevent obesity. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests eating a diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, but access to these foods can be difficult for some residents in rural or low-income communities. In Missouri, full service grocery stores that offer fresh fruit and vegetables can be up to 30 miles away in some rural communities. Such distances can make it difficult for residents to get recommended foods like fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
In 2014, University of Missouri Extension partnered with MDHSS to expand SHSH programs to corner stores in rural and low-income areas across the state. SHSH provides webinar trainings and two SHSH toolkits: one for retailers and one for communities. The retailer toolkit provides healthier foods information, safe handling and storing guidelines for produce, product placement, and marketing suggestions. The Community Toolkit guides community partners in working with stores and building demand for healthy foods. This effort aims to increase sales for corner stores, improve the availability of healthier foods in these areas, and encourage residents to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.