According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people in the United States can benefit from increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables. Compared to people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, people who eat a healthy diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and possibly other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers (CDC, 2011). Healthy eating is more than a matter of personal choice. Healthy food is not equally available to all community members. The lack of full service grocery stores, prohibitively high food costs, and a lack of information about healthy food preparation methods can prevent healthy eating. As the awareness of the link between urban form, diet, and public health outcomes grows, practitioners and policymakers are developing a better understanding of food access in their communities. Sustainable food systems provide an equitable distribution of resources including healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food, and economic opportunity for workers, producers, distributors, and retailers. Sustainable food systems increase community health nutritionally, economically, and socially.
Only one in four adults surveyed in the greater Portland region report eating a healthy diet. Clark County has the lowest percentage of survey respondents who reported meeting the CDC recommendation, 23.8 percent. In Washington County, the percentage of survey respondents who reported meeting the CDC requirement declined from 29.8 percent to 24.9 percent.
In recent years problems associated with poor diets, including obesity, have been increasing across the country. Public health officials in Oregon and Washington are working hard to encourage children and adults to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. However, this community-wide issue cannot be addressed by public health agencies alone. Strategies to address this issue can be implemented in schools and workplaces and through the provision of farmers markets and full service grocery stores. Through the evaluation of existing programs and the identification of populations with increased need, different sectors can gain a better understanding of what is and is not working and develop policies to drive change.
Tables were created using the combined 2002-2005 and 2006-2009 Oregon and Washington BRFSS. Data samples from single years at the county level are too small to be useful alone. Non-Age-Adjusted rates provide a description of the absolute burden of a disease or risk factor for an individual county. Age-Adjusted rates allow you to compare one region or group to another without worrying about whether differences in the rates are due to one population being, on average, older or younger than the other population. When comparing counties with Oregon or with one another, use Age-Adjusted tables. Data are adjusted to the 2000 U.S. Census Population.
The geography for healthy eating is the greater Portland region which includes Clackamas County, OR; Multnomah County, OR; Washington County, OR; Clark County, WA. Please note that the geography used varies across different indicators.