Increasing affordable options
Healthy, safe and affordable food is a key determinant of health.1 Access and consumption of healthy foods reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases including cancer. The food we eat can also increase our risk of poor health.2
Approximately 30 per cent of colorectal cancers in Alberta may be caused by an unhealthy diet.3 In 2015, approximately 8% of new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed in Alberta were linked to low vegetable and fruit consumption, while approximately 10% were linked to consumption of red and processed meats.4,5
Ways to get started
- Start a healthy food box program where community members can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at a low cost, preferably sourced locally, and have the boxes picked up or delivered in a central location.
- Provide free healthy food and beverage options in schools, at events, during meetings, and in facilities.1-3 Obtain subsidized healthy food items through support from businesses and other organizations.
- Create food delivery services, satellite depots, and other similar community-based programs to reduce barriers to accessing affordable healthy foods and beverages.3
- Work with communities, municipalities and grocery stores to create financial incentives for the purchase of healthy foods such as food subsidies, vouchers and price discounts.
- Support municipalities to institute price incentives for healthy food and beverage options in all public food venues and vending services.6-7
Amplify your impact
For further action related to promoting healthy eating in your community see:
Multi-component community-wide interventions that promote healthy eating in your community will have greater impact than implementing single one-off strategies. Multi-component interventions may include policies that increase the availability, affordability and access to healthy food and beverage options.
Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:
- What you expect to learn or change
- What you measure and report
- How to measure impact
What you expect to learn about increasing affordable options for healthy eating may include:
- Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
- Increased access to affordable healthy food items
- Increased affordability of healthy food items
- New or revised policies or by-laws
- Ottem A. Healthy eating and food security: promising strategies for BC. Toronto (ON): Dietitians of Canada; 2010. Available from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Healthy-Eating-and-Food-Security-Strategies-BC.aspx.