Eat Real Food—San Antonio
Undergraduate Work / Social Awareness
In 2004 the Economic Research Service (ERS) issued The Economics of Obesity report which stated, “Obesity is at the top of the public health agenda in the United States today for compelling reasons.” Unless the current dietary trends—the over consumption of calories, added sugars, and saturated fats; under-consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and increase of physical inactivity—and mindsets change drastically, then health conditions caused by obesity will continue to threaten the economy.
The entire nation is affected by obesity; it’s not just a problem in the under-served population (i.e., the poor and uneducated in underdeveloped communities of the nation). The ERS found “food and dietary choices are influenced not only by prices and income, but also by family structure, time constraints, psychological factors, nutritional information, and Federal food and nutrition assistance programs” are factors driving dietary choices and the economic consequences of poor nutritional and health choices. This basically means the obesity epidemic affects even the most affluent population, as well, with easier access to fast food restaurants and increased inactivity. By informing all of San Antonio citizens of healthier options and equipping them with food preparation skills, this project can help make a difference in the future of the city’s health and economy.
The target audience will remain families with school-aged children. Since all are affected, regardless on family income, it will be important to focus on communities identified to be food deserts by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as the city's affluent communities.
San Antonio, Texas has been reported as the seventh largest city in the nation and based on the 2016 WalletHub’s analyst it’s also “the eighth fattest city in the nation.” The reality is, like much of the nation, San Antonio citizens eat too much and move too little. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the health statistics of San Antonio citizens nearly triple that of the national rate with over 65% of its citizens considered overweight or obese. As a result the diabetes rates of San Antonio are more than twice the nation’s average.
Unfortunately the adage, “you can give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, or you teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime” is incomplete in theory, when it comes to the American obesity crisis. According to an article in The New York Times, Giving the Poor Easy Access to Healthy Food Doesn’t Mean They’ll Buy It, it isn’t enough to make healthy food more easily accessible and affordable, if one does not know how to prepare the healthy food.
Although there are a number of factors to consider when fighting obesity, phase one of this project focused on informing San Antonio citizens of the availability of healthier food options, while at the same time educating them in food preparation practices.
For phase two of this project, the focus was in expanding the project’s exposure throughout the city with a series of Good Health Starts with Real Food promotional items and deliverables.
During my research I’ve discovered to combat obesity it is important to inform the community of healthy food accessibility along with educating them in food preparation skills needed to build a healthier community. These steps must go hand-in-hand for the project to be successful.
The purpose of phase one was to inform the community not only the advantages of adopting a healthier lifestyle, but also educate the community on food preparation skills for the whole family to enjoy.
For phase two the purpose was to further promote the social awareness project as a source of information for the community. To acheive this all deliverables associated with the Good Health Starts with Real Food campaign was consistently accompanied with the logo and the RealFood–SA.com.
Although obesity is a national epidemic, this project will focus on a more local scope here in San Antonio, Texas. Deliverables would be saturated in areas of San Antonio identified as food deserts and present in affluent areas of the city, as well. They would contain information about farmers markets, in-store recipes, in-store and/or community cooking classes.
Phase I is accomplished through non-traditional media. To include: posters to be located in grocery stores that support local farmers and bus stop kiosks to promote farmers markets; point-of-sale signage in produce section of grocery stores to advertise online cooking video; website (for mobile experience); and a cookbook.
Phase II is accomplished through non-traditional media. To include: reusable/washable grocery hemp bag, VIA Metropolitan Transit bus wrap, and supermarket checkout conveyor belt.