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Californians Support More Money for Low-Income Families to Buy Fruits, Vegetables and Other Healthy Foods

June 10, 2015

Ninety percent of participants in California’s nutrition assistance program and 92 percent of non-participants support an increase in the amount of money CalFresh recipients have to spend on fresh produce, according to an article published by the American Journal of Public Health. 

The study, Support for Policies to Improve the Nutritional Impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in California, authored by UCSF’s Cindy Leung and with co-authors from the Public Health Institute and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, showed that the overwhelming majority of California adults—both CalFresh recipients and non-participants—support changes that boost healthy options. 

Between 74 and 93 percent of CalFresh participants support policies that would: provide more overall money for CalFresh benefits; offer nutrition incentives for fruit and vegetable purchases; remove sugary beverages from the list of products that can be purchased with CalFresh while simultaneously providing incentives for fruits and vegetables; or only remove sugary beverages from the purchase list. The support range is 87 to 92 percent among non-participants. 

“There is a clear consensus that participants want more money for healthy foods and less for sugary beverages,” said Dr. Marta Induni, research program director of the Survey Research Group at the Public Health Institute and a co-author of the study. “The Public Health Institute believes that any changes to existing policies could only happen through a careful, meaningful partnership that prioritizes the needs and concerns of those who are using the program.”