Success StoryThe Leadership Council for Healthy Communities Raises the standard for Nutrition
LCHC continues to transform health outcomes by increasing access to healthy food and nutrition education throughout the District.
Instilling Healthy Food Habits at Every Age
Leadership Council for Healthy Communities Increases Access to Healthy Food Options
The District of Columbia’s ongoing problem with obesity among non-Hispanic Black
adults continues and the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) has risen
to the challenge. As the self-reported rate of obesity sits at 40.7% according to the
CDC, organizations such as LCHC have implemented new and creative ways to reach
the community where they are.
Through funding from the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches for Community Health
(REACH) program, LCHC has provided support for parents-to-be and provided them with
guidance on breastfeeding best practices, increased access to healthy food, and helped various organizations implement nutrition standards.
Lack of information and support, as well as environmental factors are the driving
contributors to obesity in communities of color in DC, especially those in Wards 5, 7 and
8, where LCHC has concentrated efforts. Overcoming difficulties such as neighborhood
design and lack of availability of affordable and healthy foods are key to improving
health outcomes amongst target populations.
In partnership with Arcadia Food Bank, LCHC helped ensure access to health food
through food giveaways and informational fliers that were distributed through Wards 4,
5, 7, and 8. Information covering topics such as healthy food shopping, cooking best
practices, diabetes mangagement and more were distributed in high traffic areas such
as health fairs, community gardens, and senior wellness centers. An estimated total of
10,000 D.C. residents received this information and were able to access food as a
result. The communities also received ongoing support through the creation of nine new
food pantries in most wards, focused on the target areas.
LCHC established three new breastfeeding centers and pregnancy clubs at Educare DC
(Ward 7), Idea Public Charter School (Ward 7), and Temple of Praise (Ward 8). An
attendee at the breastfeeding workshop stated, “They truly provided the information I
needed to feel like I was ready. Now I know how to eat healthier for me and by baby.”
Implementing the food giveaways, food pantries and breastfeeding/pregnancy centers in the
target wards has allowed LCHC to provide support and access to the underserved population in
DC that needs it the most. These initiatives can provide a guide for LCHC and other
organizations to follow and expand their impact.
LCHC staff at Medstar Arcadia on August 25, 2023.