UCLA helps convert East L.A. corner store from 'food desert' into healthy food oasis

UCLA Health article
(Spanish-language version: http://ucla.in/u6KSPV.)
Can corner stores that prominently display healthy foods and relegate chips, soda and candy to the back of the store be sustainable and improve the health behaviors of the community?
As part of a project designed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among Latinos in East Los Angeles, the UCLA–USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities' "Corner Store Makeover in East L.A.," funded by the National Institutes of Health, has converted a corner store to offer healthier food choices.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, along with UCLA faculty and community members, will celebrate the reopening of the converted YASH La Casa Market corner store, which will stand apart from other convenience stores by no longer displaying soft drink and beer advertisements on its windows and by featuring a juice bar, additional refrigerators for fresh produce, an outdoor vegetable garden and free Wi-Fi.
East Los Angeles is a primarily Latino community with high rates of obesity-related chronic diseases. The neighborhood is considered by many a "food desert" due to its poor access to comprehensive grocery stores and foods recommended for a healthy and balanced diet and its preponderance of fast food restaurants.
The project is working with high school students from various East Los Angeles high schools to promote corner store conversions and encourage healthier food options and meal-preparation strategies.
The store-conversion opening celebration will feature the following speakers:
The Honorable Gloria Molina
Los Angeles County supervisor (District 1)
Paul Simon
Director of the division of chronic disease and injury prevention for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Mike Prelip
Professor of community health sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health
Jesse Torres
CEO of Pan American Bank and chair of the community advisory board of the UCLA–USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities
Grace Gonzalez
CEO of Volunteers of East Los Angeles (VELA) "The Light of the Community," a nonprofit agency serving residents of East Los Angeles
Rudy Salinas
East Los Angeles Rotary Club
Speakers will deliver remarks at 10 a.m. In addition, high school student youth advocates will be available for interviews in English and Spanish.
10 a.m.–noon, Saturday, Oct. 29
YASH La Casa Market
3968 Hammel St., Los Angeles 90063 (map)
Sarah Anderson | 310-267-0440 | [email protected]
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