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Legislation To Bring More Healthy Foods To Vulnerable Communities

Armen Hareyan's picture

The American Public Health Association announced its support for legislation to expand access to affordable healthy foods for at-risk populations, such as school children, low-income senior citizens and families living in underserved areas.

"The Food Outreach and Opportunity Development (FOOD) for a Healthy America Act aims to counteract the increase in diet-related chronic illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus), executive director of the American Public Health Association. "Poor diets result in poorer health, shorter life spans and rising health costs. Individuals in lower-income neighborhoods may lack transportation to supermarkets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods, leading to higher levels of obesity, diseases and other health ailments."

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APHA also supports the bill's proposal to create and broaden programs to help communities develop farmers' markets, roadside stands and other activities to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to residents. The bill also provides resources that would make healthy foods more affordable to people such as providing coupons to low-income seniors to buy fresh produce at farmers' markets and other community agriculture programs. In addition, APHA supports the Local Food and Farm Support Act, introduced today by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

"All people deserve access to the foods they need to develop and maintain good health," Benjamin said. "We urge the Senate Agriculture Committee to incorporate this important public health legislation into the larger 'Farm Bill' that is scheduled for Congress's renewal this year."

Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions.