Messaging Overview

Tips for Effective Healthy Food Access Messaging

  • Focus on BOTH the health AND economic benefits of access to healthy food for kids, families, and neighborhoods.
  • Be prepared to address the high cost of food, the need for consumer education around healthy eating, and the concern that just because the food is available doesn’t mean that people will buy it.
  • Reference healthy food financing success stories like Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative began in 2004 and has made it easier for an estimated 500,000 residents to find healthier food in their communities. It led to the financing of 88 healthy food stores or farmers’ markets in underserved rural or urban locations, and created or retained some 5,000 jobs in struggling neighborhoods.
  • Stress the local angle: access to healthy food and more job opportunities for people living in the neighborhood.

Key Messages

Nearly 30 million people in neighborhoods across America have little or no access to healthy food like fruits and vegetables. These same neighborhoods often struggle with high rates of unemployment and diet-related chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Healthy food financing programs can help. These programs can help local grocers to open, expand, and improve grocery stores and corner stores in neighborhoods that need food and jobs the most.

Without access to healthy food, a nutritious diet and good health is out of reach. Healthy food financing programs are good for health because they offer an opportunity for kids and families to establish healthier lifestyles.

Every neighborhood should have access to a place where people can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken and turkey, and dairy and whole grain products like milk, yogurt, whole grain breads, and pastas. Research shows that this will contribute to better eating habits and good health, including decreased risk for diet-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Healthy food financing programs are good for the economy. They create jobs for people living in the neighborhood, create markets for farmers, and have the potential to lower health care costs.

Providing access to healthy, affordable food is one part of the solution. In addition, we must make sure consumers are educated and stores promote and market the healthy items.

Language to Emphasize/Language to Avoid

Messages that resonate best are clear and simple. They use everyday language free of jargon and communicate shared values and emotion. Below you’ll find a list of words/phrases Voices for Healthy Kids encourages you to use (left-hand column) when talking about food access. Language in the right-hand column includes terms and phrases not as easily understood or impactful when looking to engage your audience.

Use This Language

Instead of This Language

Areas without access to healthy food like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and dairy Food desert
Neighborhood, town, city, school, church, family, local business General “community” which means something different to each person
Underserved Poor
Helping children grow up at a healthy weight Preventing childhood obesity
Eating healthy and being physically active helps prevent diabetes and heart disease Eating healthy and being physically active helps prevent childhood obesity

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