Niagara Falls Healthy Neighborhood Initiative
Building Healthy Communities
February 9, 2015
Growing evidence shows that our ZIP code has a greater impact on our health than our genetic code. The neighborhoods in which people live—where family members play, study, work, and worship—affect health in multiple and complex ways.
Good health outcomes are more prevalent in neighborhoods where people have easy access to nutritious, affordable food; safe and walkable streets; and active playgrounds and public spaces. Living in neighborhoods without these essentials, residents are more likely to be burdened with high rates of obesity, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses. To tackle some of the underlying problems that have affected the health of communities, NYSHealth launched the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative to help New York State communities become healthier and more active places. Through the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund, NYSHealth is investing $2 million over two years to support six communities across the State in their efforts to increase access to healthy, affordable food; improve access to safe places where residents can exercise and be active; and connect children and adults to programs that support healthy behaviors. NYSHealth awarded Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative (the Collaborative) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, the Collaborative focused on improving access to healthy food in the Highland Avenue and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Niagara Falls by expanding pop-up farmers’ markets and farm shares of fresh produce for residents. Resident leaders received nutrition, food access, and advocacy skills training so they can respond to community issues, act as peer educators, and prioritize the needs of the community in the implementation of food access and built environment projects.