The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department is getting a new “mobile dietary clinic” after a vote by officials.
The Dallas County Commissioners Court authorized the purchase of a 2024 Ford E450 during its meeting on Tuesday.
The purchase of this vehicle with taxpayer money is part of the Chronic Disease Prevention Division’s (CDPD) “Wellness on Wheels” project, which was started to “increase retail food access of low-cost, nutritious foods to underserved communities throughout Dallas County,” according to official documents.
The CDPD will partner with the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, the Oak Cliff Veggie Project, Dallas WIC, Texas Small Farmers & Ranchers Community Based Organization, and Parkland Health and Hospital Systems to provide these services.
“Through this mobile market, areas classified as food deserts will have consistent and affordable access to fresh, local produce and support the local food system through their affordably priced purchases,” said officials in the document.
So-called “food deserts” are areas that are generally far removed grocery stores or food producers, especially those providing healthy options.
Within Dallas city limits, most of these food deserts are concentrated in the southern and northeastern portions of the city. These areas are lacking in grocery stores and have high unemployment.
The National Library of Medicine detailed research in 2014 that looked at the relationship between obesity rates and proximity to grocers. The study observed that residents in low-income areas who lived a significant distance from grocery stores (which ostensibly contain healthier foods than fast-food restaurants) were more prone to obesity.
As previously reported in The Dallas Express, Dallas and its surrounding suburbs suffer from high rates of obesity, in large part a consequence of a regional overreliance on eating out and failure to get enough exercise.
In addition to making healthy foods available, the new mobile clinic will also provide health services such as screenings and nutrition education in the identified areas.
The estimated costs for this one-time purchase are not to exceed $189,955 of county taxpayer money, per the resolution.
Other governments around the nation have already implemented similar projects. The State of Utah has a wellness bus that offers free health screenings and lifestyle coaching to different cities across the state, while Massachusetts has its Baystate Health Wellness on Wheel bus, dedicated to connecting healthcare workers and patients.
So these people believe that one van will make a difference. It will not which will involve more van purchases that ultimately will end up as a government boondoggle that will help no one. The phrase that “even if it helps one person, it is worth it” is bs.