California partners with grocers, banks to launch healthy food initiative
July 22, 2011
As part of first lady Michelle Obama's fight against obesity, especially among children, the California Freshworks Fund, a nonprofit fundraising
initiative, will help bring affordable, healthy food to underserved communities in the state.
The fund, a $200 million public-private partnership, was announced by the first lady during a healthy foods summit for corporate and industry leaders at the White House. It will work with grocers across the state to create new places to buy nutritious food, in addition to creating 6,000 jobs in a state plagued by high unemployment.
"Health happens in our neighborhoods. Families can't eat healthier food if they can't buy it where they live," said Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment. "The sheer number of banks and other investors involved proves that this is not only the right thing to do to improve the health of our communities, but it's financially attractive."
The program is supported by a coalition of grocers, financial institutions, healthcare providers, researchers and others, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Kaiser Permanente and the California Grocers Association.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one-third of U.S. adults (33.8 percent) are obese, and 12.5 million children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 suffer from obesity.