Residents of Jacksonville’s New Town neighborhood and Urban Core were invited to Edward Waters College Wednesday to learn about eating healthy on a budget.
The event was part of the 4-H “Food Smart Families” program that teaches low-income families about budgeting for their health.
United Healthcare’s Florida Chief Medical Officer Eina Fishman was reading the label on a can of corn at the Edward Waters event. Except the can was fake and she was standing in a fake grocery store aisle set up in the gym at Edward Waters College.
The grocery simulation challenged people to talk about the benefits of healthy eating with a nutritionist.
“Even though it seems like it’s very cost effective to buy a can of corn or green beans,” Fishman said, “really it’s going to have a negative impact on your health.”
Fishman said the corn has lots of sodium and small serving sizes compared to the plastic produce a few feet away.
United is supporting 4-H, a youth-development organization, by donating $55,000 to this program and partnering for the event.
“This college in particular is located in a food desert,” Fishman said. “There’s a huge need in the community to learn about what’s important in terms of health, healthy eating habits and unhealthy eating habits.”
Many booths were manned by teens in 4-H. They offered information on ways to incorporate exercise into busy schedules and how to prepare healthy meals. The booths also offered samples of fruits, veggies and some prepared meals.
“They might be afraid to spend money on (new foods) because if they don’t like it, they’ll feel that it’s wasted money,” Fishman said. “Particularly when your resources are scarce, you probably don’t want to take risks with that money.”
Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.