MAY 16, 2011
More than $100 million in Obamacare grants to “reduce health disparities” between minorities and whites will also go to projects that help meet the First Lady’s goal of bringing healthy foods to the inner city.In fact, the agency that’s dishing out the cash, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is encouraging groups that can help eliminate “food deserts” in urban areas to apply for the recently announced “community transformation grants.” The goal is to reduce chronic diseases—such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease—disproportionately seen among poor and minority populations.The administration has already dedicated another federal agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to revolutionize the inner city diet by providing affordable healthy fare such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk in neighborhoods determined to be “food deserts” or poor census tracts with “low access” to a large grocery store. The agency even created an internet mapping tool (Food Desert Locator) that identifies areas with “limited access to affordable and nutritious foods.”Created by Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the new healthcare grants “will empower communities with resources, information and flexibility to help make their residents healthier,” according to Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. As a result the government will save millions in healthcare costs because chronic diseases are mostly caused by tobacco use, obesity, poor diet and lack of physical activity, according to the Health Department.This is why the administration is dedicating more than $100 million to help “population groups experiencing the greatest burden of chronic disease” (poor minorities) become tobacco free, more physically active and better nourished.As an example of a qualifying grant recipient the Health Department specifically lists “eliminating food deserts” and bringing healthier food to “corner markets in urban areas.”
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