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(Placerville, CA) – El Dorado County was one of fifty-eight counties in California to participate in a third statewide "Healthy Stores" survey last fall. The survey, conducted in 8,000 stores across the State, examined availability and marketing of tobacco, alcohol and food products in retail stores. One hundred and forty-three stores surveyed were located in El Dorado County. The California Department of Public Health released the results of the statewide survey in June 2020.
The goal of the Healthy Stores project is to support healthy communities by encouraging more healthful product options in community stores. The project also aims to reduce the targeted marketing and placement of tobacco products, electronic smoking devices, and alcohol beverages to underage youth.
"The survey helps us learn which products are sold in local stores, where products are placed and how products are marketed, particularly to young people and families," said Christy White, Supervisor of the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency's Tobacco Use Prevention Program. The survey was conducted between March and June 2019. Trained survey participants visited gas stations, pharmacies, convenience, grocery and other stores, and documented what they found.
The results of the 2019 survey showed that El Dorado County retailers (58%) are doing better than the statewide average (46%) in offering fresh fruits and vegetables. However, nearly half of the stores surveyed in the County offered sugary drinks at checkout stands. Over 75% of stores surveyed offered electronic smoking devices for sale. The percentage remains nearly the same from the 2016 Healthy Stores survey. According to White, this may reflect purchasing e-cigarettes online by young people, which has been a concern among health professionals and parents in recent years.
"Stores in our communities play a critical role in our health," said White. "They not only impact the economic well-being of neighborhoods, but also physical health of people who visit them. The survey results can help us engage in meaningful dialogue with community members and retailers to encourage healthy stores."
For more information about the Healthy Stores campaign, including complete survey results from all California counties and statewide data, visit http://www.healthystoreshealthycommunity.com/
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