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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Seniors learn to shop smart, healthy with grocery tour program

Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock faculty members are educating area seniors on healthy food consumption by taking them grocery shopping.

Angela B. Armstrong and Janea Snyder designed the “Smart Shopping for Seniors” program to educate elderly residents living in the University District about obesity, its risks factors, and how consuming healthy foods will aide in reducing their risk – and they are doing so by actually accompanying the residents to the local grocery store.

“The store tour includes educating them on how to read food labels and shop smart for healthy foods on a limited budget,” said Snyder, instructor in UALR’s Department of Health, Human Performance, and Sport Management.

Participants receive a $10 gift card for their participation and are able to purchase healthy food items at the conclusion of the event, according to Snyder.

Snyder and Armstrong said they generated the idea for the program following their participation in the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP) Central Regional Summit, held this past summer, where both became trained Cooking Matters at the Store educators.

They received funding from ArCOP following their proposed Growing Healthy Communities project for the University District community, using the Cooking Matters at the Store curriculum.

Smart Shopping for Seniors is for individuals 55 years of age and older who live, work, or attend school within the University District boundaries. Sixteen participants joined Snyder and Armstrong for the first shopping event held Friday, Oct. 22, at the Kroger grocery store on West Markham street.

The next Smart Shopping for Seniors event is Tuesday, Nov. 12. Individuals may register online or call 501.683.7575. Space is limited to 20.

ArCOP implemented training opportunities across the state and is funding six-month project grants designed to immediately put the training into action. Snyder and Armstrong hope to secure future funding to impact even more seniors within the district and possibly expand the project to help other communities.