Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center

Improving Nutritious Food Access in Low Income, Low Access Neighborhoods


Cleveland adults and youth report significantly worse outcomes than their counterparts at the state or national level.  Obesity patterns in Greater Cleveland are similar to national trends where there are significantly higher rates of obesity among inner city residents (36.7%) compared to the rest of the county (28.6%), state (29.8%) or nation (26.9%). Among those living with the least financial resources, the rate of obesity reaches 42%.  The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve’s core research project will focus on families with children who are recipients of SNAP. 

Case Western PRCHN will work with community partners to create and use a system to improve the reach, adoption, and impact of farmers’ markets, incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets, and deliver education known as the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (FNEP) among low-income neighborhoods in Cleveland. To communicate with the community, they will reach out to popular community opinion leaders, as well as work with their partners:  the Network of Community Advisors, Cuyahoga Office of Job and Family Services, Ohio State University-Extension, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition, and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. They will build on previous research and work to address food deserts (low access to nutritious food) with FreshLink: Improving Nutritious Food Access In Low-Income, Low-Access Neighborhoods. 

This project aims to:

  • Identify bottlenecks and barriers to using farmers’ markets, provide incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets, and deliver their food and nutrition program in diverse, low-income settings, and conduct five one-year trials to address priority issues
  • Adapt and test an approach using peer health advocates to boost demand for farmers markets, incentive tokens and EFNEP among SNAP recipients living in low-income neighborhoods.

The long-term goals of the project are to increase access to nutritious foods in low-income and low resource urban neighborhoods and to share how to implement and disseminate those findings more broadly with others.

Principal Investigator Darcy A. Freedman

Project Identifier Improving Nutritious Food Access in Low Income, Low Access Neighborhoods

Funding Source PRC Program

Project Status Active

Host Institution Case Western Reserve

Health Topics Nutrition| Obesity & overweight

Research Setting City/Town | Urban

Race or Ethnicity African American

Gender No specific focus

Age Group No specific focus

Contact Information


Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods

10900 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44106

PRC Deputy Director Suzanne Johnson Phone: (216) 368-5773