American Public Health Association
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For Immediate Release
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APHA urges Senate Agriculture Committee to maintain funding for key nutrition programs in Farm Bill mark up

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA

Washington, D.C., April 26, 2012 –“The American Public Health Association urges the Senate Agriculture Committee to maintain funding for key nutrition programs included in the Committee Print of the 2012 Farm Bill as it begins its consideration of the bill this week.  We are pleased that important elements of the bill have been protected, including continued funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and nutrition education programs.

“While we recognize the need to make strategic investments during tough budgetary times, we must work to strengthen all programs that protect against hunger, serve vulnerable populations and strengthen community-based programs that improve access to local and regionally produced fresh, healthy food. The draft bill would shortchange vital federal nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and place a tremendous strain on U.S. families.

“The number of low-income Americans who rely on SNAP every day to feed their families has quickly burgeoned to 49 million, as a result of the recession. Now is not the time to cut a projected $4.49 billion from this urgently needed program that so many households across the country depend on for assistance.

“On behalf of the American Public Health Association, I urge the committee to restore funding to these proposed cuts and reach a bipartisan solution to protect funding for SNAP and other important nutrition programs. We look forward to working with Chairwoman Stabenow and other members of the committee to ensure the final bill promotes proper nutrition and health for all U.S. families.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at www.apha.org.