To build healthy environments throughout the County, multiple Sacramento County departments have joined forces with outside agencies. One such example is at a Shell gas station by developer Vinod Paul’s at 5500 Florin Road, located amidst a hustling, bustling South Sacramento neighborhood.
Soon, the gas station will include a convenience store that will offer healthy foods to patrons among other assorted items. Fifteen percent of the retail space in the convenience store will display fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and potentially, healthy meats such as fish. And, these foods will be displayed in the front of the store, near the check-out stand, where patrons will see them. This is one step toward filling-in the “food deserts”—areas that lack access to affordable fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods—throughout disadvantaged areas.
Without access to healthy foods, chronic diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol skyrocket, and the concurrent rising costs to the health industry multiply. One way to significantly deter this is with carefully planned environments that include access to healthy food and parks, safe sidewalks, bike paths, and well-lighted tree lined streets.
“We are happy to report that our Departments of Community Development, Transportation, and Health and Human Services are working hand-in-hand toward healthy designs of environments in the community,” said Bradley J. Hudson, County Executive. These departments are advised by the Sacramento Countywide Design Guidelines, which were created by multiple County departments and outside agencies.
The County’s departments are also working with the Health Education Council, founded 24 years ago, with a mission to empower individuals toward healthy lifestyles. Regarding the Florin Road Shell gas station convenience store, Health Education Council Executive Director Debra Oto-Kent, MPH, said, “We are so excited to partner with Vinod Paul and the County of Sacramento to make healthy choices available at the Florin Shell station. We applaud Mr. Paul’s efforts to be responsive to the community’s need for healthy food and look forward to making fruits and vegetables more accessible in South Sacramento.”
Sacramento County Health and Human Services Public Health Officer, Dr. Olivia Kasirye explained that a healthy lifestyle is cultivated by healthy design, which is more than just knowledge of healthy choices. “Where you live, work and play has a great impact on your health, and, the environment influences the lifestyle choices that you make.”