NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Around the Hampton Roads region the expression, you are what you eat, doesn’t begin to explain the constellation of health problems that are associated with poverty.
This summer, cardiologist Dr. Keith Newby launched a boots-on-the-ground effort to find and support residents who have food insecurities and other issues that are detrimental to good health.
“We’re starting to learn how those aspects of social determinants of health really impact people’s health care,” Newby said, “(including) what type of finances they have, are they able to afford medications, and what’s their living situation.”
In mid July, The Newby Foundation, in partnership with the historic First Baptist Church, opened a pop-up Community Harvest Market in the Norfolk Scope parking lot. The Young Terrace housing community sits to the north of the lot and the under-redevelopment former Tidewater Gardens community sits to the south.
A second pop-up took place in mid-August, and the third and final pop-up will take place from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday in the Norfolk Scope parking lot at 201 E. Brambleton Ave.
As the program comes to a close, Newby concluded that the markets have provided a learning experience for organizers and participants.
“We’ve learned what people don’t know,” Newby said. “That is, what they eat, how they live and the environment which they are in.”
The Community Harvest Market offers healthy foods at a discounted price, health screenings and exercise sessions.
According to Virginia Social Services, food insecurity triggers poor physical, social and emotional outcomes — delayed development for children and chronic diseases for adults. Newby told 10 On Your Side the feedback gathered by his Community Harvest Market team reflects what he often sees in patients with chronic diseases.
“Are they eating foods that are high in fat and low in nutritional value,” Newby said. “We are seeing incidents of obesity, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.”
Regina Mobley: Where you’re set up is in fact a food desert.
Dr. Keith Newby: Absolutely, and that’s why … we’re looking at, how do we extend it just beyond these markets, we do our job, as I see it, is provide health to the community.
Newby told 10 On Your Side that expansion will take place as The Newby Foundation recruits more like-minded partners.
“We are looking at other partnerships,” Newby said. “and this is really what The Newby Foundation is about.”