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Data Story: Healthy Eating: Combining Clinical and Community- Based Efforts

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. This data story explores the proportion of residents of each town who do not eat the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day, and data about two potential ways to change this indicator: expanding access to healthy foods in supermarkets and corner stores, and conducting community outreach through community health centers. These initiatives are intended to make healthy choices easy and convenient.

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This map shows what percentage of adults report eating at least the recommended five fruits and vegetables per day. The orange outlines show municipalities that participate in two public health programs: the Mass in Motion program and the Middlesex Country Community Transformation Grant. In these towns, these programs pay for local staff to on initiatives to get residents better access to healthy foods. The purple dots show the location of some community health centers in the state. In addition to providing many health services, community health centers are working with their patients to encourage better nutrition. One community that is addressing nutrition with the help of a clinical partner is Lowell. Specifically, Lowell’s community health center is testing out a pilot project to allow clinical providers to write prescriptions that direct patients to the local farmers’ market to buy fruits and vegetables. Explore your community on this map. Does it have community health centers? What proportion of the population is eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables? Although many forces influence individuals’ diets, one of the most basic is the cost and availability of healthy foods. The next visualization illustrates the relationship between two sources of food: corner stores and supermarkets.
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