WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2023 — Heart disease and stroke patients, survivors, caregivers, health care providers and other advocates from across the country will be in Washington, D.C. this week to ask their elected representatives to support nutrition and food security programs in the 2023 farm bill. The advocates are part of You’re the Cure, the national grassroots network of the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives.
The farm bill, which is scheduled to be reauthorized by Congress this year, has enormous influence over the food grown, available and consumed in the United States. Essential anti-hunger and nutrition programs are projected to be more than four-fifths of the full cost of the legislation, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentives Program (GusNIP) and other crucial programs. These programs are especially important now that the SNAP public health emergency allotments have ended, tightening the food budget of more than 40 million SNAP participants, most of whom are children, elderly or those with disabilities.
“The farm bill presents a critical opportunity to shape programs that address food insecurity and make healthy foods accessible to millions of people nationwide,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association. “Grassroots advocates from across the country will share their personal experiences with elected officials about why the farm bill is so important to them. The American Heart Association joins these advocates in urging Congress to prioritize and modernize important programs including SNAP and GusNIP to address food insecurity and maximize these programs to improve diet quality and nutrition.”
During their meetings on Capitol Hill, American Heart Association volunteers will emphasize the need to:
- Keep SNAP benefits strong;
- Fully leverage opportunities for SNAP to also improve nutrition quality through pilot programs;
- Lower the GusNIP match requirement to 10 percent to make the program more equitable and reach more communities; and
- Expand participants’ ability to use SNAP benefits and increase the number of retailers that participate in SNAP online, as well as modernize the Electronic Benefits Transfer system to make it more efficient and secure.
“Focusing on nutrition security is essential to address socioeconomic, racial and ethnic disparities in nutrition and chronic disease,” said American Heart Association volunteer President Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “Programs like SNAP play an important role in addressing food insecurity and mitigating poverty. We must build upon this success and invest in policies that will also improve access to healthy food, the nutritional quality of food, diet quality and ultimately the health of all.”
Advocates representing the National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers (NCIT) are joining the American Heart Association in support of farm bill priorities, including the vital child care and nutrition access policies that impact families with young children. The NCIT is an education and advocacy movement committed to ensuring that all children prenatal to three and their families have what they need to thrive.
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.
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