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Deprived areas get help with 5-a-day

Shops in low-income areas helped to stock fresh fruit and veg

OnMedica staff

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Government campaign Change4Life has helped stores in low-income areas of England to stock fresh fruit and vegetables in an attempt to encourage people to meet their 5-a-day target. Low-income areas of south-west England, the East Midlands and West Midlands have now been targeted by Change4Life following the success of pilot schemes in north-east England.

The pilot in the north east started with 12 shops, and grew by 100 shops over the year. It led to sales of fruit and vegetables growing by 47% in participating stores, so corner shops across the country are joining Change4Life and working with their local NHS to promote healthier eating in their communities.

The stores have had a "fruit and veg makeover", stocking a wide range of fruit and vegetables, displaying Change4Life posters and signs, and appointing a member of staff to champion fresh fruit and vegetables in store. Each shop receives point-of-sale and in-store branding as well as an ambient stand for display at the front of store.

The Department of Health will continue to support a number of shops in less well off areas where fruit and vegetables are less easily available, providing funding toward prominently placed chillers to help keep stock fresh.

Gillian Merron, public health minister, said: "It’s not always easy to get your 5 a day – but we’re going to help the local shop stock and keep fresh fruit and veg, which will make it easier for shoppers to choose healthy options.

"This is good news for everyone – it will boost the health of local people and the local shops."

The Department of Health says that one million mums claim to have attempted to change their children’s behaviour as a result of Change4Life and that latest data show that obesity prevalence in children is levelling out; it also says that an early analysis of people’s shopping baskets suggests that families who signed up to Change4Life are now more likely to chose low-fat milks and low-sugar drinks.

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