Creating Healthy Communities / Food Access – Increasing Access to Healthy Foods2022-02-10T12:21:14-08:00

Access to fresh food is important for an active, healthy life.

Where we live has a major impact on our overall health status and wellness.1 Food security is defined as stable access to sufficient, affordable food for an active, healthy life.2 Food insecurity impacts all racial and ethnic groups and geographic regions of the state.

Communities with high concentrations of fast-food outlets and relatively high-priced convenience stores have been shown to have higher rates of obesity and diabetes, which can lead to other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arthritis.3

Indicator Progress

In 2011 (baseline year), an estimated 78.9% of California adults could always find fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood. The most recent data available show 89.0% (2018). We hope to reach a target of 88.0% or higher by 2022.

More Data about Access to Fruits and Vegetables

Access to Fruits and Vegetables

Note: The indicator and data source have changed from the original LGHC 2012 Task Force Report as the original data source is no longer available. The baseline has been updated but the target will need to be developed for the new source.



Current Rate




Indicator Highlights

an image of a man and woman outside gardening

Skid Row Healthy Food Micro-Enterprise Project

Skid Row Healthy Food Micro-Enterprise Project by the Los Angeles Community Action Network is a pilot project in the early stages of development that seeks to serve the Skid Row community of Downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is home to approximately 15,000 homeless, formerly homeless, and other low-income residents. Read more »

No Market, Worse Diet

One study found that residents with no supermarkets near their homes were 25-46% less likely to have a healthy diet.3

Children’s Shows, Unhealthy Ads

Food ads on television make up 50 percent of all the ad time on children’s shows. These ads are almost completely dominated by unhealthy food products (34 percent for candy and snacks, 28 percent for cereal, 10 percent for fast food, 4 percent for dairy products, 1 percent for fruit juices, and 0 percent for fruits or vegetables). Children are rarely exposed to public service announcements or advertising for healthier foods.4

One third Lack Regular Access

Over one third of adults in California reported that they seldom, never, or only sometimes could find a variety of good quality, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables that they want in their neighborhood.5

Stores play a critical role in our health. They not only impact the physical health of the people who visit them, but also the economic well-being of neighborhoods.5

Data Snapshot

Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians/Alaska Natives are disproportionately affected by food insecurity, with more than 40% of Lations and African Americans and more than 50% of American Indians/Alaska Natives experiencing food insecurity.6

Overall, 70% of stores across all California counties have ads for unhealthy foods (tobacco, alcohol, junk food) outside of stores, but only 12% have ads for healthy products (milk, fruit/vegetables).7

Over 75% of stores near schools sell youth-appealing candy and mint or liquor flavored tobacco products.7

Food-insecure children have increased rates of developmental and mental health problems. They may also have problems with cognitive development and stunted growth, leading to detrimental negative impacts on their behavioral, social, and educational development.8

Proportion of Adults Who Report Always Finding Fruits and Vegetables in Neighborhood, Over Time

Proportion of Adults Who Report Always Finding Fruits and Vegetables in Neighborhood, by Demographic Category

Proportion of Adults Who Report Always Finding Fruits and Vegetables in Neighborhood, by County


Indicator: Proportion of adults who report being able to find fresh fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood.

Indicator Description: Indicator is from UCLA’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) Public Use File (PUF) and may consequently be available in their exploratory dashboard, AskCHIS. “Access to Healthy Foods” assesses the built environment and how accessible fresh fruit and vegetables are. This measure is tracked based on CHIS PUF Variable AC42: How often find fresh fruit/veg in neighb. This variable is available via AskCHIS (How often able tto find fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhood).

Data Limitations: Asked of California’s residential population (adults, teens, and children), administered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Does not include those living in group quarters or homeless persons.

Indicator Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Indicator Calculation Methodology:

Data Collection Methodology: Statewide telephone/internet survey using a geographically stratified sample design. Estimates are weighted to Dept. of Finance demographic data (adjusted for group quarters population). More information is available at

Program URL Link:


1. Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch. (2014). Obesity in California: The Weight of the State. California Department of Public Health. Weblink:

2. Backman, D., Lee, P., & Paciotti, B. (2013). Health Disparities in the Medi-Cal Population. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from

Stories & Solutions

Ending Hunger in Orange County (OC)

Orange County experiences a unique disparity in which it ranks sixth in highest median income statewide, while also ranking ninth nationwide in counties with the highest number of people facing food insecurity.

The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community Campaign

Public health advocates specializing in tobacco control, nutrition and alcohol prevention are working together to improve the health of Californians through changes in community stores and to educate people on how in-store marketing influences consumption of unhealthy products.

Market Makeovers Increase Access to Fresh Produce

Connecting a corner store, a farmers market, and a refrigerator to increase access to fresh produce for the L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown community. Historic Filipinotown is a community in the City of Los Angeles where the availability of and access to fresh produce is limited; 17 out of 25 small stores [...]

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