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Listening to Rural Georgia's Community Voices: Collecting Consumer Input to Improve Access to Healthy Food

August 29, 2017

PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) works to build partnerships to change communities where poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity are prevalent—empowering people to eat healthier foods, engage in physical activity, and create safer environments where healthy choices are accessible to all.

In July, CWN Deputy Director Amy DeLisio spent a week in Georgia to support partner HealthMPowers in collecting consumer intercept surveys in three rural, low-resourced counties across the state.

HealthMPowers and CWN conducted over 230 surveys with community residents at intervention stores that have implemented healthy changes as part of HealthMPowers Community Initiative over the past year. Over the course of the week, HealthMPowers and CWN conducted over 230 surveys with community residents at intervention stores that have implemented healthy changes as part of HealthMPowers Community Initiative over the past year. Community members were also surveyed at community sites such as local health departments, to assess their recall of the Community Initiative EAT, DRINK, MOVE social marketing campaign images and messages that are displayed on billboards, on posters and in stores throughout the intervention communities.

Working with retailers to provide shoppers with adequate access to healthy foods is an integral part of public health efforts to prevent obesity, reduce certain chronic diseases, and enhance community vibrancy. Listening to the community voice about what they would like to see changed in their neighborhoods is another powerful way to advocate for healthy changes. The data collected this year will be compared to data collected in July of 2016 to assess the environmental and community resident changes that have occurred. HealthMPowers also plans to expand the Community Initiative into other counties next year.

Results will also be used to influence store owners to make additional healthy changes, such as stocking more fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the number of healthy shelf stable items and adding more in store promotion of healthier products. These strategies will all encourage consumers to continue to make healthier purchases.

For more information regarding this project or healthy retail consultation services that CWN offers, please contact Amy DeLisio at Amy.DeLisio@wellness.phi.org.


About PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition

The Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition recognizes the connections among local community environments, poor diet, physical inactivity, food insecurity and obesity. The Center for Wellness and Nutrition has a diverse portfolio of nutrition, physical activity, obesity prevention and chronic disease prevention projects that reduce the risk of obesity by empowering communities to eat healthier foods, engage in physical activity and create safer environments that foster healthy choices. Learn more about our work.