Improving diet quality for families is an important health promotion initiative. The Healthy Foods program offers up to a 25 percent discount on selected fruit and vegetable items to more than 260,000 families across South Africa. The discounts are provided by the South African local distributors of the Healthy Foods Program, a program which promotes local business and community involvement in improving quality health through diet. This program works with suppliers who have an established reputation for fair-trade organic food production and who work with communities to improve health and nutrition.
The Healthy Foods Program also works closely with the South African National Health Examination Survey, or SNAE, to provide families with a health assessment. This assessment is used to determine what a family needs to do to improve their health, and how they can achieve this. Families are provided with tools to make healthier food purchases and information on the SNAE’s work to improve health, including their website and their health guide for families. They also receive a certificate for purchasing healthy food and a certificate with details of the health assessment.
By participating in Healthy Foods, families can have a stronger voice in improving their health and in making changes to their local area and community. Through Healthy Foods, they can empower themselves with the tools they need to make healthier food purchases and engage with their communities. Participating in Healthy Foods is an important part of the Healthy Foods Program’s engagement strategy with local vendors and the extension of its Healthy Food Hub to remote areas. For this reason, many Healthy Foods Hubs (as the Healthy Foods Program is often referred to) are located in rural areas where most people live in poverty.
For health and nutrition advocates, the benefits of healthy food shopping are clear. These advocates gain access to the large assortment of both organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables. They also gain access to the information they need to make healthy food choices and they can help empower themselves and their families with the resources they need to begin making these choices. The benefits of healthy food shopping extend beyond those who are committed to eating better, though. The purchase of these grocery products allows families to begin investing in their own well-being, too.
For example, families who partake in healthyfood programs often buy healthyfood because of the benefits they provide to their children. Studies have shown that children of families who eat a healthy diet have better health outcomes than children who do not consume healthy foods. In addition, studies have indicated that healthy eating reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, and certain cancers. Studies have also indicated that healthier diets can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, as well.
The Healthy Food website makes it easy for people to research foods that suit them best and to shop for those foods according to their individual needs. They can find out about the nutritional value of various foods and the amount of calories contained within each food. For people who are concerned about obesity, the site offers information on ways in which they can start exercising and reducing the amount of junk food they consume. They can also search for local nutrition programs in their area. Health promotion becomes much easier when families who lead healthy lifestyles learn how to make better food choices.