Teens give some Bronx bodegas a health makeover

The sizzle on the grill, the heaps of sweets, the rows of chips, the stand of pork rinds, the mounds of cakes for less than a dollar, the shelves stocked with sugary drinks, the endless unhealthy options towering over a bodega's sparse fruit stand is something some health-conscious pre-teens hope to change.

"If we don't do something, who will? Who will tell them you can't always eat junk food?" said Tanya Bermudez, 12, who part of the Bronx Works after-school program.

She is actively involved in Shop Healthy Bronx, a Mott Haven initiative aimed at reversing the food desert that plagues the Bronx.

"Obesity in Bronx is on the rise," said Carlos Otero, the assistant general manager of 10 Days Grocery. "We want to try and stop that."

He sees the problem day in and out.

In Mott Haven, the obesity rate is 42%. Diabetes is at 20%. The area also has very few supermarkets—just one for every 25 bodegas.

Carlos is committed to changing the look of his store with fruit cups, yogurt, a better salad bar, wraps, and more.

"It's about continuing the conversation about healthy food," he said.

The hope is by starting young and targeting kids, the change will be organic and multi-generational. Right now the program is in four bodegas. If it has an impact on these four, it may expand.