YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 47

Louisiana’s Healthy Food Retail Act Origin: Louisiana State Legislature Bill Name/Number: Senate Bill No. 299, Act No. 252 Link: Click here Summary: Passed in 2009, this act provides a financing program to stimulate investment in healthy food retail outlets in underserved areas of Louisiana. Talking Points & Important Information: • Millions of Americans live in the middle of a food desert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food deserts as a “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food” which “[i]nstead of supermarkets and grocery stores […] have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.” • The USDA estimates that 24.5 million Americans live in areas of food insecurity, and that more than half of them – 13.5 million – are low-income. • Food insecurity can impact health and have particular relevance to our nation’s growing trends of racial health disparities. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, people living in low-income neighborhoods, as well as predominantly African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, have less access to supermarkets than those who reside in middle-income or predominantly white neighborhoods. In fact, fast food options are disproportionately saturated in these low-come, Black, and Hispanic neighborhoods. • For more information on heathier food retail initiatives from across the country, read this report from the Centers for Disease Control. 2015 POLICY BOOK STATE LEVEL PAGE 47