Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Texas Health Champion Spotlight: H-E-B

share this +

Take a moment to learn more about 2013 Texas Health Champion, H-E-B, and join us on September 12th for the 6th Annual Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony.

We all want to make the healthy choice, but so often the options presented to us—on the street, in the grocery store—make unhealthy choices the easy choices.  Texas-based supermarket H-E-B recognized this problem and has proudly taken on the responsibility of improving the consumer environment.  The company has taken bold steps not only to increase the nutrition of the food they sell, but also to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles.

“H-E-B has designed a comprehensive, accessible, and sustainable approach to reducing health disparities throughout the state,” writes Scott Bodnar and Marissa Rathbone of the healthy living organization ACTIVE Life.

Among H-E-B’s contributions is a list-serve that emails healthy recipes to interested customers.  The grocery store has also created special labels for items that are good fiber sources or low in fat to help customers pick out the more nutritious options.

H-E-B works with a team of nutritionists to make their products worthy of these labels, ensuring their products meet and exceed national dietary standards.  These nutritionists are helping to introduce more and more healthy versions of H-E-B’s products into stores and the company is working to promote that food through sales on these healthier items.

Recognizing that many of their customers are Hispanic, H-E-B nutritionists ensure that traditional Hispanic foods—some of which can be especially high in fat and sodium—have healthy options as well.  Additionally, H-E-B has made a special point of including bilingual labeling for products, so that all their customers have access to nutritional information.

“A large volume of [H-E-B’s] customers are low-income and at-risk. As the largest grocery supplier in Texas, H-E-B feels it is their responsibility to be able to provide food and care for this population,” writes Michelle Smith of Texas Action for Healthy Kids.  As such, H-E-B provides deals on healthy foods at the end of the month when some families may be at the end of their budget.  They also provide free monthly health screenings.

In addition to all their in-store programming, H-E-B has distinguished itself philanthropically by sponsoring schools’ wellness initiatives and other programs that promote health across Texas.

Obesity is an epidemic and no one individual will be the cure.  H-E-B has harnessed its power as an organization to make the kind of environmental changes only a large company like H-E-B can for the better health of many.  Time and again, this Health Champion has demonstrated how food companies can be part of the solution.

Texas-based grocery store H-E-B and Dr. Bill Squires are the 2013 Texas Health Champions. The awards will be presented at the 6th Annual Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony on Thursday, September 12th in Austin.  The event aims to inspire the community to action and enliven the discussion on next steps in solving the obesity crisis.  The award ceremony will include a keynote address from Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of American Heart Association, and will be preceded by a resource fair and networking reception (heavy hors d'oeuvres will be provided).  

Written by
Jessica Bickel-Barlow

Jessica Bickel-Barlow just completed her sophomore year at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is pursuing a double major in Radio, Television, Film (RTVF) and English Literature and a minor in Theater. This summer she has been keeping busy with internships at Austin Film Festival and Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp as well as with her work in the Communications Department at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.