We are a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the health of underserved communities. Our mission involves creating health equity by providing valuable resources and education in order to foster a healthier lifestyle. Education about healthier food choices is paramount to living a healthy lifestyle. Diet plays an enormous role in the development of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc. However, access to healthy food stores and supermarkets is limited in underserved communities, creating nutritional inequality. Therefore, we were pleased to be invited to educate the South End community about their health and conduct blood pressure screenings.
The End Of A Food Desert
Nutritional inequality stems from a lack of access to good-quality foods created by food deserts. By definition, food deserts are areas in which the residents are unable to afford or access healthy fresh foods to support a healthy lifestyle. An example of such an area was the South End community in Downtown Albany. For a long time, the community lacked stores where people could buy fresh and healthy foods, however, this food desert ended upon the opening of a new grocery store: South End Grocery. Dr. Tina Omorogbe, the founder and CEO of Chasing Health stated that her heart was filled with joy when South End Grocery replaced a McDonald’s that once stood in its place. This new establishment provides fresh fruits, vegetables, and homestyle food recipes supplied by small black business owners. It was an exciting feeling to watch the joy on the faces of these small business owners as their products flew off the shelves. This is a great accomplishment for the owner and the community of South End.
How Diet Influences Blood Pressure
In order to further promote health equity in the South End community, our organization was also invited to educate the masses about hypertension and conduct blood pressure screenings. This was the perfect opportunity to do so due to the fact that diet plays an important role in the reduction of high blood pressure and heart disease. Studies have shown that a diet high in sodium (salt) can lead to an increase in blood pressure levels, on the other hand, a low-salt diet and food rich in fruits and vegetables can lead to healthy blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80, you have hypertension which can lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Due to the opening of South End Grocery, members of the community now have the opportunity to improve their eating habits and develop a healthier lifestyle.
Finally, we thank our sponsor CDPHP for contributing to our efforts and the owner of the South End Grocery store for inviting us to spread awareness of how a healthy diet leads to a healthier lifestyle.