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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Nutrition and Access to Quality Food in Southeastern Pennsylvania
Tuesday. March 8, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        

March 8, 2011                                                                                                 

Contact: Kelley Elliott (267.350.7699 or


Nutrition and Food Access Remains an Issue for Southeastern Pennsylvania Residents

Socio-economic Status and Geography Examined


PHILADELPHIA— In recognition of National Nutrition Month in March, Public Health Management Corporation released data that reveals many residents in Southeastern Pennsylvania may not receive adequate nutrition and access to fresh produce. The Community Health Data Base 2010 Household Health Survey found that nearly half of adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania (1.4 million) eat fewer than three servings of fruits or vegetables each day, a problem that is more common among men (56.9%) than women (41.5%).


Black and Latino adults are more likely to fall into this group, with nearly two-thirds of Black adults and two-thirds of Latino adults (62.4% and 62.2% respectively) eating less than three fruits or vegetables each day, compared with White and Asian adults (43.9% and 51.9% respectively). In addition, adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania who eat fewer than three servings of fruits or vegetables are more likely to describe their health as only fair or poor (20.2%), compared with adults who eat three or more servings of fruits or vegetables each day (11.9%).


Community Health Data Base also found that access to healthy food might be related to socio-economic status and geography. Two-thirds of adults living below the Federal Poverty Line (66.5%) eat less than three servings of fruits and vegetables each day, compared with 46.4% of adults living above the Federal Poverty Line. In addition, adults in Philadelphia (57.9%) are more likely than suburban adults (42.1%) to eat less than three servings of fruits or vegetables each day.


Additional socio-economic issues that affect healthy eating choices are household budget and availability of fresh produce in local neighborhoods. More than one in ten adults in SEPA (11.2%) has had to cut meal size or skip a meal in the past year because there was not enough money in the budget for food. And, more than a quarter of adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania (28.4% or 851,000) have to travel outside of their neighborhoods to get to a supermarket. Adults without supermarkets in their neighborhoods are more likely to describe their health as fair or poor (20.7%) than are adults with supermarkets in their neighborhoods (14.4%).


Additional nutrition and food access findings include:

·       Four in ten adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania (40.1%) eat fast food at least once per week. This represents approximately 1.2 million adults in our region.


·       About one in eight adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania (12.7%) describe the quality of his or her neighborhood groceries as fair or poor.


·       While most adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania say it is “very easy” or “easy” to find fruits and vegetables in their neighborhoods, one in twenty adults in our area  (4.9%) describe finding fruit locally as either “difficult” or “very difficult”.


The CHDB Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. CHDB is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Foundation, CIGNA Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, United Way of North Penn, North Penn Community Health Foundation, the Scattergood Foundation and over 400 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors.


For more information about the Community Health Data Base, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey or nutrition and food access in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Rose Malinowski Weingartner at or 215-985-2572 or visit


About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit