Tallahassee ranks low in food category of healthiest cities in America

Tallahassee downtown market.


A survey of 174 cities in America was released earlier this month by wallethub.com, It provided rankings based on healthcare, food, fitness, and green space – like the quality of parks and walking trails per capita.

 Tallahassee ranked No. 3 in the green space category and 39 in health care but 154 in the food category.

Tallahassee’s high ranking for green space is largely due to the number of walking trails per capita. The health care category was determined by things such as the number of premature deaths, physicians per hospital beds and costs of medical visits. According to the Florida Health Charts, their recent reports show that heart disease is the leading cause of death accounting for “46,625 deaths in the year 2016” for the nation.

The food category, however, details the struggle of Tallahassee’s attempt to keep the obesity of its citizens in control. Wallethub.com measured “Tallahassee’s fruit and vegetable consumption, availability of healthy restaurants, dietitians and nutritionist per capita and the share of obese residents.”

According to the local harvest, which serves to connect people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it, Tallahassee is home to four different farmer’s markets providing fresh fruits and vegetables either on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday.

 Florida A&M University alone provides fresh foods every week. According to the FAMU student health services website, the employees of Student Health Services provide “FarmShare, [which] is a collaborate effort with FarmShare of Gadsden to provide fresh fruits and veggies free of charge to students.”

Hercampus, the No. 1 global community for college women, written entirely by the nation's top college journalists from 340-plus campus chapters around the world, also reports that “eight of the healthiest restaurants in Tallahassee” that offer food for different types of diets such as soul- vegetarian restaurants and Zoës Kitchen, which offer dishes for vegetarians, pescatarians and vegans.

Obesity seemed to be the killer category with “87.9 percent of middle and high school students not eating at least five fruits and vegetables every day,” according to healthyequityalliance.org. This could be directly related to a whopping “56.1 percent of adults who are overweight or obese,” which was also reported by healthyequaityalliance.org.

Health Equity Alliance of Tallahassee (HEAT), which receives funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation to the Leon County Health Department, has conducted research activities that have fueled their community engagement.

Research activities such as “quality of food choices in stores” that show “healthy foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products) are less available in low-income neighborhoods,” have supported community engagement initiatives such as the Tallahassee Food Policy Council, which advocates for “policies that will improve the accessibility, affordability, and awareness of nutritious foods to Leon County residents.”