CDC: Low availability of healthy foods in most states

ATLANTA — Many states need to improve healthy food access to promote healthy eating habits and curb obesity among children, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC's "2011 Children's Food Environment State Indicator Report" found that 32-out-of-50 states (along with the District of Columbia) scored at or below the national average for the Modified Retail Food Environment Index, a measure of the proportion of food retailers that typically sell healthy foods within a state.

The mRFEI scores can range from zero, which indicates no food retailers typically sell healthy food within the state, to 100. The national mRFEI score was 10. States with low mRFEI scores tend to have less supermarkets, which tend to sell more healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, than their counterparts (i.e., fast food restaurants and convenience stores).

"Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years," CDC director Thomas Frieden said. "This report underscores the need to make healthier choices easier for kids and more accessible and affordable for parents."

To access the "2011 Children's Food Environment State Indicator Report," click here.

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