New Local Food Council aims to improve nutrition to combat chronic disease

In Madison County, 6.2 percent of adults have coronary heart disease as compared to 3.9 percent in Ohio and 5.4 percent in the United States.

(Posted Jan. 17, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The percentage of adults in Madison County who have coronary heart disease outpaces the percentage across Ohio and the United States. The same can be said of Madison County adults who have hypertension (high blood pressure), who are obese, and who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Statistics like these have local health, wellness, and education agencies working together to find ways to promote healthy behaviors to combat chronic disease.

One goal is to improve nutrition. Information from the United States Department of Agriculture reveals that nearly 12 percent of Madison County residents don’t have access to enough food or good quality food to meet their basic needs. Income, proximity to food resources, and transportation are contributing factors.

A new Local Food Council is in the early stages of working toward the goal of improved nutrition for Madison County residents. The group held a community meeting in November to gather input to guide their efforts.

“We did some brainstorming and analysis and talked about what we thought the important issues are around local food,” said Amanda Douridas, Madison County OSU Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources.

“We are working on our mission and vision statements,” said Elizabeth Devine, director of community health and accreditation for Madison County Public Health.

Generally speaking, the food council’s purpose is to increase access to healthy food options, address food insecurity, help people find resources for food, promote economic development to support farmers and other food producers in the county, and provide education about healthy eating habits.

“The overall goal is to create healthier outcomes and reduce chronic disease in the county,” Devine added.

The food council’s next meeting is set for 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Della Selsor Building at the Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London.

“The meeting is open to anyone who is interested and passionate about helping with this process and achieving whatever goals we find to be on the table,” Douridas said. “We welcome anyone who is concerned about local food access and healthy lifestyles within the county, including farmers, local producers, and retailers interested in providing more food access.”

The council plans to meet monthly.

For more information, contact: Elizabeth Devine at the health department, (740) 852-3065; Amanda Douridas or Deetra Huntington, SNAP-Ed program assistant, at OSU Extension, (740) 852-0975.

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