From Nutrition to Public Policy: Improving Healthy Food Access by Enhancing Farm-to-Table Legislation in Louisiana

Published:February 21, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.12.012
      To take the Continuing Professional Education quiz for this article, log in to www.eatright.org, click the “myAcademy” link under your name at the top of the homepage, select “Journal Quiz” from the menu on your myAcademy page, click “Journal Article Quiz” on the next page, and then click the “Additional Journal CPE Articles” button to view a list of available quizzes, from which you may select the quiz for this article.
      Increasing access to healthy foods is one of many strategies that have been recommended by national authorities as a way to improve nutritional outcomes.
      Office of the Surgeon General (US), Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), National Institutes of Health (US)
      The Surgeon General's call to action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity.
      Committee on Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine
      Accelerating progress in obesity prevention: Solving the weight of the nation.
      • Koplan J.P.
      • Liverman C.T.
      • Kraak V.I.
      Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth
      Preventing childhood obesity: Health in the balance: Executive summary.
      Research has shown that the environments in which we live, learn, and work can influence an individual’s diet.
      • Hutchinson P.L.
      • Nicholas Bodor J.
      • Swalm C.M.
      • Rice J.C.
      • Rose D.
      Neighbourhood food environments and obesity in southeast Louisiana.
      • Rose D.
      • Richards R.
      Food store access and household fruit and vegetable use among participants in the US Food Stamp Program.
      • Kubik M.Y.
      • Lytle L.A.
      • Hannan P.J.
      • Perry C.L.
      • Story M.
      The association of the school food environment with dietary behaviors of young adolescents.
      • Cohen J.F.
      • Richardson S.
      • Parker E.
      • Catalano P.J.
      • Rimm E.B.
      Impact of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal standards on food selection, consumption, and waste.
      Therefore, increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables (F/V) and decreasing the availability of unhealthy foods may facilitate healthy eating among individuals.
      • Story M.
      • Kaphingst K.M.
      • Robinson-O’Brien R.
      • Glanz K.
      Creating healthy food and eating environments: Policy and environmental approaches.
      • Story M.
      • Nanney M.S.
      • Schwartz M.B.
      Schools and obesity prevention: Creating school environments and policies to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
      Increased F/V consumption may potentially improve weight status over time
      • Rolls B.J.
      • Drewnowski A.
      • Ledikwe J.H.
      Changing the energy density of the diet as a strategy for weight management.
      and lower the risk for other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease,
      • Dauchet L.
      • Amouyel P.
      • Hercberg S.
      • Dallongeville J.
      Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: A meta-analysis of cohort studies.
      diabetes,
      • Li M.
      • Fan Y.
      • Zhang X.
      • Hou W.
      • Tang Z.
      Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
      and certain cancers.
      • Riboli E.
      • Norat T.
      Epidemiologic evidence of the protective effect of fruit and vegetables on cancer risk.
      Ensuring that individuals and communities have convenient and affordable access to fresh F/V in their respective environments often requires policy change at the state or local level.

      Institute of Medicine, Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention Actions for Local Governments, Food and Nutrition Board. Local government actions to prevent childhood obesity. In: Sanchez E, Burns AC, Parker L, eds. Washington DC: The National Academies Press; 2009. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12674/local-government-actions-to-prevent-childhood-obesity. Accessed March 6, 2014.

      For example, policies that leverage food purchases from local farms have become increasingly popular for their potential to foster healthy eating and boost local economies. A number of such “farm-to-table” strategies exist, such as farm to school programs, farmers’ markets, local preference programs, and community gardens.
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