Guest Editorial: Why Ohio should include $5 million in budget for access to healthy foods

(WTOL) - More than two million Ohio residents, including 500,000 children, lack local access to fresh, affordable food.

In many communities, it's easier for kids to find grape soda than a bunch of grapes. Families who live in areas where they can't find a bag of apples or a head of lettuce are at a greater risk of becoming overweight and obese.

I'm Brian Brown, Board Member for the American Heart Association, and we're part of the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force.

Chronic diseases, most of which are tied to poor nutrition, cost Ohio more than $50 billion every year in both healthcare costs and lost productivity from work. That's why the task force is asking our legislators to include $5 million dollars in the state budget to support the Healthy Food for Ohio program. It will help save lives and create jobs.

If Ohioans achieve even modest health improvements, the State would save $1.2 billion on healthcare and prevent 650,000 cases of diabetes, heart disease and cancer by 2030. Call your representatives today, and help us make the healthy choice the easy choice. Learn more here.