The northwestern Harford ZIP codes do not meet the food desert criteria because they are wealthier, have a higher education level and do not typically have transportation as an issue.

The study found assistance programs like soup kitchens, food pantries and congregant meals are primarily available in the Route 40 corridor in the county's southern tier, which is home to a number of low income people and public assistance recipients.

The task force also hopes to promote its website http://www.healthyharford.org.

Other initiatives


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In other health department initiatives, Kelly said the Teen Diversion program, which sends teenagers with substance abuse and other problems into psychiatric diversion programs, is one of the programs at greatest risk of being lost because of state budget reductions.

She said the program has saved taxpayers $3 million in three years.

"It is a program we may have to consider infusing additional dollars in to sustain it," she said.

Councilman Dick Slutzky asked if the county is making progress in convincing people to not use tobacco.

Kelly said funding for tobacco education has been sliding backward and anti-tobacco programs have been cut dramatically.

"In some segments of the population, we are sliding a little bit," she said. "It is really very disconcerting when you encounter young people who know all the statistics, but they think they are invincible."

Kelly also said the children's dental clinic remains popular, with about 4,500 clients.

"We know there are still about 14,000 children who are eligible for dental through medical assistance," she said. "It really has become the dental home for so many students."