During the month of July 2016, Hart Research Associates conducted a poll of 400 likely registered voters in Chester, Pennsylvania on behalf of the American Heart Association’s ANCHOR Partnerships Program. This work is made possible with funding from the CDC. The results do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC.
Chester residents were polled about their perceptions of the health of the community, including access to healthy foods and attitudes towards farmers markets. The respondents were 58% female and 42% male. In this blog post, we will summarize some important points and key findings from the poll.
One key finding was that a majority of Chester voters recognize several health and nutrition problems in the community. More than half of respondents stated that diabetes, lack of exercise, and obesity were major problems in the community (see graph below).
When discussing their shopping habits, Chester residents indicated that they were most likely to do their food shopping at a grocery store (compared to farmers markets, small corner stores, or convenience stores). However, most Chester residents indicated that they would prefer to buy their fresh produce at a farmers market or farm stand. Most respondents indicated that they believed that produce is less expensive at a farm stand or farmers market compared to a grocery store. However, despite the affinity for farmers markets, 37% of respondents indicated that they had no farmers markets or farm stands in or near their neighborhood.
There is strong support among Chester residents for increasing food access, and a majority stated that it is the responsibility of leaders to take steps to make sure everyone has access to healthy foods. There is also strong support for increasing access to farmers markets within Chester. Eighty-nine percent of Chester residents favor dedicating resources to establishing farmers markets in neighborhoods that do not currently have one. Ninety-three percent of Chester residents support increasing the number of farmers markets and farm stands that accept SNAP and other nutrition assistance benefits.
A majority of Chester residents are in favor of increased access to farmers markets and healthy food options within the community. AHA is working within the Chester community to help to achieve this goal. Many adults and children do not consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each week. We want to make it easier to make healthier choices by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the Chester community. Every family should have the chance to access healthy foods.
 Source: Voices for Healthy Kids, Healthy Food Options Should Be Just Around the Corner