Over 30 percent of North Carolina children are overweight and obese, increasing their risk of many chronic disorders including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and some kinds of cancer.
Research shows that those who live closer to healthy food retail have a lower risk of these disorders – but many North Carolinians have trouble accessing and affording these healthy options. North Carolina has more than 349 food deserts across 80 counties, impacting 1.5 million North Carolinians. Over 20 percent of North Carolinians suffer from food hardship, meaning they have not been able to buy the food their family needs within the past year.
Smaller convenience stores tend to be located in areas that have less access to grocery stores, making them great places to increase healthy and local products. The state-supported Healthy Corner Store Initiative (HCSI) will combat the food access problem in North Carolina by helping small convenience and corner store owners stock healthy foods, some of which could come from local farmers and fishermen.