Collaborating with Business Owners, Schools, Teens, and Community Members to Modify the Food Environment in a Predominantly Latino Urban Community

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Principal Investigator: Michael Prelip

Access to fresh food is important to the physical health of community residents. The community of East Los Angeles has been characterized as a “food desert,” where residents have poor access to fresh produce and other foods recommended for a healthful and balanced diet. An urban, mostly Latino population, East L.A. residents experience high rates of obesity-related chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke. The UCLA/USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD), with funding from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the California Endowment, is currently studying a community engaged neighborhood environment intervention approach involving local business owners to re-engineer four corner market stores—a common venue for food purchases for many in this community—to help them market and provide healthier food options and guide community members toward healthy eating. We are also partnering with youth from two local high schools (Roosevelt and Torres HS) to develop and implement community-wide social marketing efforts directed toward food justice and healthier eating. While environmental approaches (corner store conversions, farmers’ markets) are increasingly popular strategies, little is known about their impact on the surrounding community members.  Also, little is known about the practical steps needed to assure that such conversions are viable and, more importantly, sustainable.

Project Staff

Rosa-Elena Garcia
(310) 826-5332
garciare [at] ucla.edu