Sunday, May 19, 2013

Act Now to Protect Nutrition in the Farm Bill!

The Senate is scheduled to have a debate on the Farm Bill on Monday, May 20th. Below is a message adopted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Action Center; please send to your Senators now to help protect nutrition programs for all Americans!  If you don't know who your Congressional representatives are or their contact information, you can find it here
Please protect nutrition programs (Title IV) and nutrition research (Title VII) in the Farm Bill. Your support of a Farm Bill, focused on strong nutrition programs and research, that supports healthy people as well as the health of the earth, will improve the health of Americans and stimulate local economies. 
As a constituent, I urge you to:
Protect funding for –
•             The SNAP-Nutrition Education (SNAP-Ed) Program. In order to make healthy food choices on a limited budget, people need to be empowered with knowledge. SNAP-Ed educates families and has proven to lead to healthier eating habits. SNAP-Ed is a necessary benefit of the larger Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) package. SNAP-Ed is also in every state, including yours!
•             The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides eligible, low-income families monthly benefits to purchase much needed food.  SNAP also stimulates the economy by increasing participants’ purchasing power.  For every $5 in new SNAP benefits, as much as $9.20 is generated in local economic activity.
•             The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) supplies low-income families, many of which are seniors, USDA commodity foods. The CSFP food package provides good sources of the nutrients typically lacking in the diet of this population.
•             The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provides nutritious foods that supplement the diets of low-income needy persons. This program utilizes organizations like food banks to reach this population. 
•             A strong Research and Extension title. Evidenced-based food and agriculture research will ensure a safe and healthy food supply for years to come.  Investing in food, nutrition and agriculture research is vital to guide sound decisions. Much of this research is conducted at each state’s land grant university.
Protect the program integrity of -
•             The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides school children access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This program has been shown, in a robust 2013 evaluation, to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption by 15%, without increasing their overall calorie intake. This means children are eating fresh fruits and vegetables instead of other, potentially less healthy foods. FFVP also helps creates the foundation for healthy life-long habits.
•             The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefits seniors and local farmers. This well established and well received program provides seniors access to seasonal produce while supporting local farmers and economies.
These important programs: 1.Contribute to healthy life-long habits; 2. Allow recipients to maintain their health and well-being during temporary times of economic hardship; and 3. May decrease the risk of developing costly and debilitating chronic diseases which strain our healthcare system.
Please protect these extremely valuable programs as the Farm Bill is debated on the Senate floor.

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