Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan Food Access Group Identifies Priorities
Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan is a statewide coalition of more than 150 organizations across Michigan dedicated to reducing childhood obesity through state policy. Policy Action Teams within the coalition work on identifying policy opportunities that will impact childhood obesity in schools, in the health services sector and in the broader community. Recent issues the coalition has focused on include complete streets (policies that help ensure streets are safe for all modes of transportation, including walking and biking), a body mass index surveillance tool for children and advocating for health and physical education in schools.
One of the coalition’s action teams looks at access to healthy food. This group is one of the primary venues through which the Michigan Good Food Charter’s food access-related goal is being addressed at the state level.
After reconvening and recruiting new membership early last year, the Community Policy Action Team for Access to Healthy Food spent much of 2012 assessing a wide range of potential state policy priorities that would help create environments where children have access to healthy food. Now in 2013, the group has identified two key areas it plans to pursue: 1) facilitating gleaning of produce that would otherwise go un-harvested from Michigan farms and distributing it to food banks and 2) increasing the availability of healthy foods in state parks. The group is now in the process of learning more about each of these issue areas in order to develop clear policy targets and build the case for how addressing these areas will impact children’s access to healthy food and, ultimately, healthy weight status trends for Michigan’s youngest residents.