PORTLAND, Oregon, August 3, 2023 — The American Heart Association, with a coalition led by Farmers Market Fund, is celebrating more Oregonians ability to afford to eat a heart healthy diet. This comes after lawmakers approved a $4.2 million state appropriation to expand a produce incentive program for Oregonians using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) called Double Up Food Bucks. The Double Up Food Bucks program helps provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables some may not otherwise be able to afford.
More than 680,000 Oregonians, more than a third of them children, currently participate in SNAP (formerly food stamps). For every dollar spent on SNAP-eligible foods at participating farmers markets, Double Up Food Bucks participants receive an additional dollar to spend on Oregon-grown fruits and veggies, up to $20 per day.
"Eighty percent of all heart disease is preventable,” said Nandita Gupta, M.D., American Heart Association board president for Oregon and southwest Washington. “Taking control of your health can be as simple as adopting a healthy diet. At the American Heart Association, we take pride in collaborating with others to make a positive change. Together we seek to increase the accessibility of fruits and vegetables, especially for those who would benefit the most from incorporating these nutritious choices into their diet."
Eating healthy is one of the easiest and smartest ways for individuals to take control of their health. Unfortunately, too many Americans consume too many foods high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium, and they eat too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, placing them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Among modifiable risk factors, poor dietary habits are a leading cause of death and disability.
Currently, Double Up Food Bucks is offered at 88 farmers markets, 65 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, and over 30 small grocery stores across Oregon. Surveys of participants demonstrate that the program's incentives work. National studies show that shoppers using Double Up Food Bucks eat more fruits and vegetables than the average American.
“This program seriously changes my quality of life when it is available. Being able to get the $20 match makes a DRASTIC difference in my financial stability,” said one Double Up participant. “I am able to get all the produce I need for a week. Being able to connect to my food sources is extremely impactful to me.”
Despite Double Up’s success over the past decade, SNAP matching programs currently exist at only 73% of Oregon’s farmers markets. This leaves many farmers markets – especially those in rural areas - without any SNAP incentive program. This $4.2 million appropriation will support the expansion of Double Up Food Bucks to more farmers markets across the state, as well as continued growth in CSAs and independently owned grocery stores.
Although diet quality has been steadily improving in the U.S. during the past two decades, overall dietary quality is still poor. Many Americans live in environments that do not support heart-healthy lifestyles. That is why the American Heart Association supports policies that promote healthy eating in workplaces and schools; encourage food producers, restaurants, and retail establishments to make healthy choices widely available and more affordable, particularly in underserved rural and urban areas; and provide Americans with guidance to make informed decisions. Strong nutrition policies such as these are critical to keep Americans in good health.
- Learn more about the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Initiatives
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
For Media Inquiries:
Jay Wintermeyer: 503.820.5309; Jay.Wintermeyer@heart.org
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)