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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Healthy Food

Healthy Corner Stores

Advocates can work with local corner stores to improve the healthiness of options sold there. The Go Healthy Here! Corner Store Guide provides step-by-step guidance on this process as well as a variety of resources to assist.

Organizational Policy

Organizations such as child care centers, schools, work places — even churches — can adopt a healthy eating policy.  Eat Smart, Move More NC has a sample healthy eating policy that any organization can download and use as a template for fostering better eating habits.

In addition, Eat Smart, Move More NC has several other resources that can help organizations identify and provide healthier foods and beverages.

Local Policy

There are several policies that affect people’s ability to access and eat healthy food in Wake County, but most of it is at the municipal level (cities and towns). Recommendations for healthy food access issues are covered in The Public Health Law Center’s Access to Healthy Food: Challenges and Opportunities.


Zoning ordinances affect where food outlets locate (grocery stores, corner stores, restaurants, etc.) and where and how food can be grown and sold. As an example, many municipalities define and zone for community gardens, urban farms, mobile farm stands or vendors, etc.

You can review most municipalities’ comprehensive plans by going to their websites.

Students decorated healthy plates in 2011 for the American Heart Association’s “You’re the Cure: What’s On Your Plate?” campaign advocating for N.C. to adopt national nutrition standards for foods sold outside of the school meal plan.

School Nutrition

Certain institutions play an important role in the food choices available to residents. For example, the Wake County School Board approves policy that sets pricing and revenue sources for school lunches and other foods provided and sold in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). The School Board is also responsible for enforcing the school system’s Local Wellness Policy.

Food Procurement

Government institutions that purchase food either to sell or serve can establish standards or set policy that says they will buy produce from local sources. Here in our state, institutions can join The 10% Campaign, which recognizes agencies and businesses that source food from local farms.

State Policy

Childhood Obesity

The General Assembly in 2008 formed the Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity that published a set of recommendations in 2010. In 2011, the House established the House Select Committee on Childhood Obesity that also recommended a series of policy changes in their report.

School Nutrition

State policy is set either by the General Assembly or the State Board of Education for school nutrition programs. North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that invests no money in school breakfast and lunch programs.  NC’s General Statute addresses issues of child nutrition programs.

General Statute on Child Nutrition Program Standards

Local Sustainable Food Systems

The General Assembly in 2009 took an interest in local, sustainable food systems, and established the NC’s Sustainable Local Food Policy Council. The Council’s work supports, among other things:

    • NC Farm to School Program
    • piloting the use of Electronic Benefits Tranfer at local farmers markets for 3 federal feeding programs:
      • the Seniors Farmers Market Program;
      • the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly Food Stamps);
      • and the Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Federal Policy

Policy that affects our food supply and food choices at the national level is even more complex. AHA keeps an eye on two main bills:

  • the Farm Bill, which sets pricing for food commodities and supports many nutrition programs, and
  • the Child Nutrition Re-Authorization Act (now known as the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act), which establishes school breakfast and lunch program funding, as well as federal feeding programs such as WIC,  mentioned above.

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