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City Official: Healthy Food Marketing Effort Has Been A Success In The Bronx

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Wednesday was celebrating the success of the city's Shop Healthy program, one year after it was expanded to three new South Bronx neighborhoods.

The program was expanded last year to Hunts Point, Mott Haven and Longwood in the Bronx.

Department Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett told 1010 WINS that ads for healthier foods are increasing in supermarkets and bodegas in the three Bronx neighborhoods.

Previously, 85 percent of ads in those stores were for unhealthy products such as sugary beverages and sweets, Bassett said. That has changed dramatically, she said.

"The ratio of unhealthy to unhealthy ads went from 11 to one, to one to one," Bassett said.

Shifting ads in favor of healthier products is the main goal of "Shop Healthy NYC," Bassett said.

"We know that marketing words, and that when you make products available to people, they will buy them," she said. "People want healthier products. If we make them available, they will buy them, and businesses can continue to turn a profit."

Another goal of the project was placing healthier foods in spots where they are more likely to be picked up, such as the front of the store, or at eye level in an aisle, Bassett said. She said stores have been doing just that.

Bassett also said stores are doing a better job of offering healthy options in their combo meals, so that instead of getting a soda and chips, customers can get bottled water and fruit.

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