Food Mapping in Wake County, NC
Community issue: According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, two-thirds of all adults (65.7 percent) in North Carolina are overweight or obese. What’s more, North Carolina ranks 11th worst in the US for childhood obesity. Local high school student Vivian McCarter noticed that her classmates would often go to nearby convenience stores for lunch or snacks during the school day. She also noticed that there were very few nutritious food options, and in fact, she was living in a food desert.
How it was addressed: Using GIS and GPS technology, Vivian and her 4-H group mapped out grocery and convenience stores in their county and tracked the stores with healthy food options. Taking it one step further, they teamed up with local health advocacy group, Advocates for Health in Action. Together, they initiated a campaign to improve food selections in stores throughout the community. They persuaded store owners to add better choices, an inspiring act and a victory in the fight against obesity.
Results: Vivian McCarter and her 4-H group didn’t just make it easier to find healthier food; they made it easier to live a healthier life. Through their efforts, the people in Wake County, North Carolina now have the resources they need to learn where healthy food options are available, and more options to lead healthy lives.