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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(Partner: National Association of County and City Health Officials)

Community Mission

The ACHIEVE CHART of Oakland-Pittsburgh will work with policy makers, community and institutional leaders to create an environment to support heightened awareness of and access to healthy lifestyles and prevention of chronic disease. Activities will focus on adopting strategies to support physical activity, access to healthy foods, and prevention and management of chronic disease.

Community Information

Oakland is made up of four distinct neighborhoods (South, Central, West, and North Oakland), but the partnerships involved in this proposal serve all four neighborhoods, as does the Oakland Business District. Similar to the the rest of Pittsburgh, it is a somewhat older community (15% are 65+ years) and the percentage of African Americans (28.3%) is higher than state or national averages. Recent data (2008) suggest that as many as 31.4% of South Oakland residents are currently living below the poverty level.
     Age, minority status, and low income are all risk factors for chronic health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Access to, affordability of, and knowledge about healthy foods are important modifiable factors that may mediate the relationship between demographic factors and a higher incidence of chronic disease. The USDA defines food security as "access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life" and considers it to be a critical measure of the health of a population (USDA Nov, 2009) . In response to community concerns regarding the absence of a large full-service grocery store in Oakland, graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursingconducted a food security assessment in the Oakland community during September, 2009. Each of the eight Oakland food stores (one small grocery store, three small ethnic food grocers, and four convenience stores) were compared with a sample of  three large urban grocery stores, five suburban grocery stores, and four small city grocery stores. The USDA Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit was used to evaluate the availability and cost of healthy foods. Findings demonstrated that disparities in access to adequate and affordable healthy food exists in the Oakland community. The average number of food items available in the Oakland area was 36 (range 18 - 61) compared to 81 (range 72-86) in the other urban grocery stores; 84 (range 77-86) in the suburban grocery stores; and 86 (range 85-86) in the small city grocery stores. Average per item food costs were significantly higher at the Oakland food stores (p=.009) compared to all other store categories.    
     As a follow-up to this survey, a convenience sample of 30 community residents attending activities at Community Human Services Corporation (community partner on this proposal) were interviewed about their household security using the USDA's Short Survey: Household Food Security. Only 46.7% of individuals stated that they had enough of the kinds of foods they wanted to eat. Money was the cause of low food security for 50% of the individuals; another 23.7% reported difficulty in getting to a store. Over half (53.7%) said they sometimes or often worried that their food would run out ; 20% said they or another adult in their household had gone without food for a whole day because of lack of money. These findings are consistent with a recent report from the USDA that food insecurity is higher now (14.6% of households) than at any time since they began collecting data in 1995. African Americans are disproportionately affected: 25.7% of households are food insecure.

Community Contacts

Name E-mail Phone
Georgia Petropoulos Muir georgia@oaklandbid.org (412) 683-6243
Heidi Donovan donovanh@pitt.edu (412) 624-2699
Mario C. Browne mbrowne@achd.net (412) 578-8035
Mark Lotter mlotter@lottershelly.com (412) 422-7788
Mary Davidson mary@oaklandbid.org (412) 683-6243
Michael Peck mpeck2@pghboe.net (412) 488-3302
R. Douglas Clewett dclewett@chscorp.org (412) 246-1602
Sandra L. Phillips sandra@peoplesoakland.org (412) 683-7150
Shanna Gay SPHERE@pitt.edu (412) 496-9641
Stephen Paul Johnston sjohnston@ceiamerica.com

NACCHO National Association of Chronic Disease Directors National Recreation and Park Association SOPHE YMCA - Activate America