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New York City Program Brings Healthier Food Options to Low-...

New York City Program Brings Healthier Food Options to Low-Income Areas
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Shop Healthy NYC works with bodegas and supermarkets to increase their supply and advertising of nutritious foods and beverages.

Shop Healthy NYC just completed its first year pilot in the South Bronx.  Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett says the program more than doubled the percentage of stores advertising healthy items. 

Bassett says small changes like signs for healthy food options are crucial first steps to lowering the Bronx's 32% obesity rate, the highest in the city. 

"The ultimate health impact of these changes may take some time," she said. "But this is part of getting there."

Bassett says along with the health benefits, the program has boosted business as well.  Isaac Hayajneh manages one of the participating delis.  He says a lot of customers don't always know how to make the healthier choice.  But he says there's plenty of demand.

"Sometimes they ask me to pick something healthy for them, like salads or the kind of bread that's most reccomended," he said.

Hayajneh says sales have improved since the deli began focusing on healthy foods.  A report of Shop Healthy NYC's first year results shows the majority of stores' overall profits either increased or stayed the same. 

Shop Healthy NYC is spreading to the East Tremont section of the Bronx.  It's also being tested in Brooklyn.