About 150 bodegas, supermarkets and convenience stores in the Bronx have agreed to prominently feature fruits and vegetables in the front of their stores, while pushing less-healthy sugary snacks and drinks to the back, officials said.
The new pilot program is part of a collaboration between Mayor Bloomberg's administration and grocers in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods to encourage healthier eating.
Nearly 70 percent of residents in the Bronx are obese, according to New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.
"Considering that obesity and its health impacts, such as heart disease and diabetes, disproportionately affect low-income communities, it is critical that we make progress in increasing access to healthy food -- and decreasing access to junk food -- in these neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs in a release.
The program, called Shop Healthy NYC, is being launched in the Fordham and West Farms sections of the Bronx, where it has the potential to impact 136,000 people, the city said.
Participating stores will receive marketing tools like shelf hangers and free-standing baskets to present fresh produce. In addition to offering fruits and vegetables in the front, stores will also display water and other low-calorie drinks at eye-level, offer healthy sandwich and meal combos at deli counters and stock low-sodium and no-sugar added canned goods.
A spokeswoman from the mayor's office said the city would be evaluating the program's effectiveness, and that the hope was to expand the program to other neighborhoods across the city in the future.
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