In a dynamic effort to enhance the nutritional support provided through the farm bill’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Organic & Natural Health Association (O&N Health) has launched the “All for Vitamin D: Building Stronger Families in a SNAP” campaign. This public awareness initiative calls on concerned voters to reach out to their respective members of Congress, particularly those serving on the influential House Committee on Agriculture. The primary objective is to advocate for a crucial amendment: The inclusion of vitamin D3 dietary supplements as part of SNAP recipients’ benefits. With an unwavering commitment to empowerment and transformative impact, this campaign strives to ignite a profound shift in the lives of SNAP recipients, championing their well-being and unlocking a future of vibrant health.
“Sufficient vitamin D levels are of paramount importance, as we have witnessed during the pandemic,” emphasized Alan Lewis, vice president of advocacy and governmental affairs at Natural Grocers and board member of O&N Health. “Recent data unequivocally highlights the critical role of vitamin D in addressing numerous health concerns. Relying on outdated notions of obtaining vitamin D solely through diet or sun exposure is not only impractical, but also perilous, advice. It is imperative that we embrace the power of dietary supplementation to provide effective and practical solutions for achieving optimal vitamin D levels.”
In its quest to promote food security and alleviate hunger, the farm bill’s SNAP plays a vital role in providing assistance to millions of low-income Americans. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, ensures that individuals and families have access to nutritious food, but O&N Health calls out crucial nutrition gaps that demand attention, and has partnered with SENPA, Natural Grocers, INFRA and the Council of Holistic Health Educators to address some of these concerns with constituents.
While SNAP permits the purchase of a diverse range of foods, encompassing fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins, it lacks explicit guidelines concerning the quality and nutritional value of these items. Particularly, when addressing the challenge of meeting therapeutic vitamin D levels (40-60 ng/ml), SNAP falls short in providing solutions, especially since these vitamin D levels cannot be achieved solely through food or sunlight exposure.
“Empowering SNAP recipients with nutrition knowledge and skills can save lives and taxpayer healthcare dollars,” stressed Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of O&N Health. “Vitamin D3 supplements offer an affordable solution to address a range of health challenges faced by families, including preterm births, depression, respiratory infections, asthma, cancer, and chronic diseases like cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.”
Research shows achieving a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml has significant health benefits such as, reducing preterm birth by 60% and lowering cancer risk by 65%. Recent meta-analyses link higher vitamin D levels to decreased COVID-19 incidence, severity, and morbidity rates. People of color face elevated risk due to melatonin blocking vitamin D absorption, making them more susceptible to chronic diseases and COVID-19 complications.
O&N Health is appealing to health-conscious citizens to rally behind “All for Vitamin D: Building Stronger Families in a SNAP” by urging Congressional representatives on the Agriculture Committee to amend the farm bill to pave the way for disadvantaged American families to obtain vitamin D3 supplements through SNAP benefits. This simple and effective addition to the farm bill has the power to address prevailing nutrition gaps and combat the far-reaching health implications of vitamin D deficiency. With a shared vision of fostering well-being for both people and the planet, O&N Health firmly believes in universal access to essential nutrition, paving the way for a healthier future.
Support the “All for Vitamin D: Building Stronger Families in a SNAP” campaign and urge members of Congress to add vitamin D3 to the farm bill’s SNAP at: www.All4VitaminD.com. Join Organic & Natural Health Association to be an advocate for the health of people and the planet at: https://organicandnatural.org.
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