(LOUISVILLE, Ky – March 1, 2017) The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) found that adults who report poorer health are more likely to think that the cost of eating better is too high. The poll also found that about four in 10 Kentucky adults overall say they don’t eat the recommended daily amounts of fruits or vegetables.
KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults about health issues and is funded jointly by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. The latest report found that 80 percent Kentucky adults say they have easy access to healthy foods, such as whole-grain foods, low-fat options and fresh fruits and vegetables; that number was 74 percent for adults earning lower incomes. These numbers were largely unchanged from 2013, the last time KHIP asked these questions.
“Too many Kentuckians still aren’t getting their ‘apple a day,’” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Federal guidelines say that half the food we eat each day should be fruits and vegetables, but only about one in 10 Kentuckians gets enough vegetables, and only a quarter of us get enough fruits. Cost is a barrier, but it’s not the only obstacle to healthier eating. The Foundation is funding demonstration projects to provide education and enact healthy school food policies in six communities statewide to help children establish better eating habits, and we’re sharing what we’re learning as part of our effort to change these statistics.”
Access to healthy foods varied by both health status and household income, according to the poll. Those earning more than 200 percent of the 2016 federal poverty level ($48,600 for a family of four) reported that they had easy access to healthy foods, while those with lower incomes were less likely to say they could find these foods easily. Of those who said they were in fair or poor health, six in 10 reported that the cost of healthy foods was too high, while just three in 10 of those in excellent health rated the cost too high.
According to Foundation Community Advisory Committee member and nutritionist Amanda Goldman, “Evidence has demonstrated that individuals and families who lack access to affordable, healthy foods have a higher risk of developing obesity and other chronic diseases. Retail outlets, including grocery stores and farmers’ markets, are essential pieces that are needed in developing and building healthier communities. It is critical that they have a presence both in urban and rural areas to better provide access to reasonably-priced fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods.”
A copy of the poll is available here.
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $26.7 million in health policy research and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
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Bonnie J. Hackbarth