Access to healthy food – or lack thereof – is a major factor in an unhealthy diet, and an unhealthy diet directly contributes to one of the top causes of preventable death in our community, cardiovascular disease. Diets heavy in sugary drinks, processed foods, and other low-nutrient foods can increase risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. This issue is amplified in children, and alarmingly, research has shown that today’s preschool-aged children consume too much sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar and have inadequate consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Access to healthy food is an issue being raised throughout our community. Oregon now has the 12th highest rate of hunger in the United States. In fact, Oregon also has the highest hunger rate of any state in the Northwest United States.
hero_image_alt_text===A family eating a healthy breakfast at home
thumbnail_alt_text===A family eating a healthy breakfast at home
Through strategic investments, we can improve access to healthy food which is so crucial to sustaining a healthy community. Which is why the Board of the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association for Oregon and SW Washington has chosen access to healthy food as it’s community impact priority. By partnering with local organizations also working on this issue we look forward to working on proven public health policies, like public investment to increase the amount of healthy food being offered in underserved communities and incentivizing SNAP recipients when they use their benefits on fruits and vegetables, to achieve this goal.