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December 10, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2015
Contact: Anika B. Jackson, M-NCPPC Public Affairs, 301-952-4584
TTY: 301-952-4366

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT RELEASES STUDY EXAMINING RESIDENTS’ ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD

Upper Marlboro, MD -- The Prince George’s County Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) today presented to the Prince George’s County Planning Board a summary of the  , a report aimed at assessing County residents’ access to healthy food and recommending policies to help eliminate disparities.

To compile the study results, researchers surveyed hundreds of residents, conducted a number of focus groups, and surveyed County supermarkets and smaller food stores for healthy food availability. Based on the research findings, the study shows that equitable access to healthy food in the most urbanized parts of Prince George’s County continues to be an issue, with residents experiencing difficulty accessing quality, nutritious, affordable, and culturally appropriate food within a reasonable distance from where they live.

The study also found that County Public School meals could be much healthier; the number of people in the County who participate in federal food and nutrition assistance programs and local programs and food pantries is on the rise; and unequal access to affordable fresh foods has a direct effect on the health of the County’s residents, who experience higher than average rates of diet-related chronic diseases than other residents of the State of Maryland.      

To address these and other identified disparities, a number of policy recommendations and strategies are included, such as: creating a food charter for the County; expanding health and nutrition education and partnerships; encouraging local food consumption and supporting the local food economy; establishing a food hub in the County to support local and regional food distribution and marketing; allowing and promoting mobile healthy food markets and food trucks to provide healthy food options in under-served communities; creating a floating grocery store zone to permit healthy food retailers in residential zones; and improving school meals through the purchase of local foods.   

Copies of the Prince George’s County Food System Study are available on the M-NCPPC Prince George’s County Planning Department web site:  http://www.pgplanning.org/.  For more information, contact the M-NCPPC Countywide Planning Division at 301-952-3680.



About the Prince George’s County Planning Department

The Prince George’s Planning Department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is responsible for preserving, protecting, and managing the County’s resources through high-quality planning services and growth management guidance. Visit our website, www.pgplanning.org, to learn how you can become engaged in shaping the future of your community.

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