Hospital, Bronx bodegas team up to offer healthier choices

- There's an incredibly rich and vibrant culture in the Bronx. But it also has a lot of poverty.

From the outside, the New Way Deli looks like most neighborhood bodegas. They are the jack-of-all trades, trying in many ways to be all things to all people, from salad to soap.

Now they are participating in a special program in conjunction with Montefiore Hospital to increase the healthy food options. It is a move intended to address some of the health disparities around here.

According to research by Amanda Parsons, the VP of community and population health at Montefiore, a third of the people in the Bronx are obese. There are also high rates of diabetes.

Nichole Joseph makes visits once a week and talks to the owner. She looks at what is on the shelves, offers suggestions, even buying healthier products for the store to see if they sell. It's a holistic approach -- fruit, yogurt, water over sugar-loaded alternatives.

Grant funding dedicated to bodegas has made this possible. Data from hospital showed this area was important to target. They've reached out to 23 bodegas; 13 have agreed to work together.

Jimmy Ali says the changes are going well.

What is interesting is that the program actually runs counterproductive to most hospitals business models. A model that says more patients translates to more money. Here the goal is to keep people out of the hospital and healthy. 

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