Healthy choices help community thrive

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Raising awareness when it comes to buying healthy food for yourself and your family, regardless of the size of the store at which you shop.

That's the goal of the Central District Health Department. Two smaller stores in Grand Island have been receiving advice from the department on stocking healthier items. They used a health fair outside one local store to do just that.

Meanwhile, inside, they are working with small grocers to stock healthier options and label them as such. It's something bigger supermarkets can do easier than the independent stores.

"I think with the smaller stores there's just some challenges as far as getting some of those healthy foods here with distributors", said Amy Roberts, a health educator with the department. "So, just working with them to figure out those issues and ways that we can get more healthy options in the store."

Improvements already seen include stocking of one-percent milk, with whole grains and low fat food choices goals for the future.

The end goal is a better community.

"We know we have some issues in our community as far as high rates of diabetes and health disease", says Roberts. "Healthy eating is one big way to decrease those rates of disease in the community, so having more healthy options will just help our community become healthier."

The health department will help Azteca and Lobo markets through September, and will be looking for other stores to help in the future.