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Voucher programs facilitate a healthy diet for people with food insecurity

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021 (American Heart Association News)

As soon as Joseph Angelo registered for Voucher 4 Veggie, he began replacing processed foods with fruits and vegetables.

“I used to eat a healthy diet, but I’ve fallen into a really comfortable food for anything that is” high “in processed sugar, such as cookies and ice cream,” said Angelo, who has type 2 diabetes. Said. “The good thing about vouchers is that they are very specific, only fruits and vegetables, nothing processed.”

Residents of San Francisco are unemployed and have a limited budget.

“It may be easy to rationalize what is processed with healthier choices,” he said. “You might think that cookies are more valuable, like when you’re looking at a $ 2.50 cookie bag or a $ 2.50 apple.”

While attending the program, he mainly used fruit vouchers such as apples, peaches and plums, but also bought vegetables. “I might buy onions and mushrooms and put eggs in them. I wanted an easy way to use the produce.”

Launched in 2015, Vouchers 4 Veggies is affiliated with the Vulnerable Population Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Known locally as Eat SF, Vouchers 4 Veggies help low-income people get healthy food. It has been replicated in Los Angeles, Virginia and Boulder, Colorado.

Participants and their families register through affiliated community-based organizations and clinics. You will be offered a voucher worth $ 20 to $ 40 per month for 6 months for fruits and vegetables. Agricultural debit cards are in the planning stages and will help extend the program to a larger grocery store network.

The program was recently funded by the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund of the American Heart Association. The fund supports community-based organizations that address health inequality.

Diet is an important risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other symptoms. Studies show that poor diets are associated with an estimated 11 million deaths worldwide each year. A healthier diet could save more than $ 50 billion annually in health care costs associated with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, according to a 2019 study by PLOS Medicine. ..

Money is a big issue, said executive director Cissie Bonini.

“They feel better as soon as they eat them,” Bonini said, as participants gained financial resources for fruits and vegetables. That way, you’re more likely to continue eating healthy foods even after attending the program for six months.

Angelo did.

He said he didn’t think about going to a food bank before because he didn’t want to ask for help, but now he can pick up a box every week and continue to eat raw food.

“I got fresh apples, pears, oranges, cabbage, potatoes, onions, dairy products, etc.,” said Angelo, who bought a food dehydrator so she could save some of her produce for later eating. Said.

He said his weight was stable and his diabetes was more suppressed. “I used to eat about 90% of processed foods, but now I eat 10% of processed foods.”

American Heart Association news covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyrighted by American Heart Association, Inc. Owned or owned by, and all rights reserved.If you have any questions or comments about this story, please email us [email protected]

Diane Daniel

American Heart Association News

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2020 Health Day. all rights reserved.


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