In Lucas County, 70% of adults were either overweight or obese, with more continuing to fall into the more serious obesity category, according to the 2013-2014 Lucas County Community Health Assessment.
In 2014, 36% of Lucas County adults were obese, up from 35% in 2011 and 33% in 2007. Obesity was especially high among Hispanic adults at 49%, those making less than $25,000 a year at 44% and African Americans at 39%, according to the assessment.
Obesity is a major health concern related to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death nationwide.
To help residents gain control of their weight – and prevent or manage chronic diseases – one Healthy Lucas County initiative is focusing on increasing access to affordable produce and improving nutrition. Eat Fresh, Live Well is working to increase the number of Toledo corner stores that carry fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other healthy food.
Convenience stores are a common place to buy food, according to a recent Scarborough Research survey.
Across Lucas County, 81% of residents had purchased at least one food item at a convenience store in the past seven days, according to the survey.
Low-income Toledo neighborhoods where residents live more than a mile away from a supermarket are especially reliant on convenience stores, making the availability of affordable fresh produce even more important in these small shops also known as corner stores.
In 2014, just 6% of Lucas County adults were eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day, the amount the American Cancer Society recommends to reduce the risk of cancer and maintain good health. Lucas County adults reported that expense was the largest barrier to consuming fruits and vegetables.
Want to find out more about how Healthy Lucas County is working to improve our overall health? Read the 2015-2018 Lucas County Community Health Improvement Plan.