No matter who you are or where you live, EVERYONE should be able to access healthy and affordable food and drinks in our community. Unfortunately, healthy food and drink options can be expensive and hard to come by for many. Rates of diabetes and prediabetes are also rising dramatically in our community. These diseases are increasingly affecting young people and people of color, leading to serious health consequences throughout their lives.
When healthier food and drinks are more widely available and affordable for everyone, it is easier for all people to have them on hand in their homes, workplaces, schools, organizations and faith groups. When the healthy choice is the easy choice, good health is achievable for everyone. That’s why the Horizon Foundation formed the Healthier Choices Coalition – a group of Howard County residents, both individuals and members of local civic, faith and health organizations working to create policy change that will make healthier food and drink more widely available, accessible and affordable for our neighbors, families and friends. The Coalition is working to:
- Make fresh produce more available and affordable. The cost of healthy meals is going up, especially for those on a tight budget. The Coalition advocates for making fruit and vegetables more available to residents enrolled in federal food programs by doubling their produce dollars at farmers’ markets and in the grocery store checkout lines.
- Improve school meals. Prior to COVID-19, the school system was on the right track toward serving our children a variety of healthier, tastier and fresher food. As a result, the percentage of students eating school breakfast and lunch skyrocketed. Since then, we’ve slipped. Our children deserve better. It’s time to prioritize serving better food to kids in our schools.
- Warn residents about the health risks of consuming sugary drinks. Just one regular-sized soda, sports drink or juice drink often contains more added sugar than our recommended daily limit – raising our risk of diabetes, heart disease and more. The Coalition advocates for adding warning labels directly to products or near the point of purchase.