New Health Initiatives in the Near Westside
The majority of people who call the Near Westside home live below the poverty line and lack the means others have to put their health first. That's why groups have long worked to support them and thanks to a recent grant, more will be done. Our Elizabeth Jeneault shows us what kind of help organizations are gearing up to give.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Experts have named large portions of the Near Westside food deserts. That means many residents don't have the money to buy healthy foods and can't easily get to a grocery store. That's why Syracuse University's Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion is working with groups to try to turn the Nojaim Brothers Supermarket into an oasis.
"We have had conversations with residents in the past about what nutrition means to them and it's really about price and how they can get the most for their money and how they can feed their family in a way that's sustainable," said Rebecca Bostwick, program director of the center.
Dollars from the recently awarded New York State Health Foundation grant will go towards teaching residents how to cook healthy on a budget.
"I think it's really important and this collaboration is critical to doing that," said Paul Nojaim, who owns the supermarket. "We don't have the capacity as a grocery store to help our customers change and we need all of these folks to help us implement that."
The supermarket and others realize that you can't force anyone to change their eating habits. That's why a nutritional value scoring system will soon be rolled out to try to urge them to do so.
"The higher the score, the better for you it is and then ultimately we want to tie that to a rewards card and reward you to choose a better, healthier choice," said Nojaim.
Apart from urging residents to eat right, groups are also working to spur their activity level. That's why some dollars will go towards changing Skiddy Park.