The Office of the Governor of the State of New York

10/21/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/21/2019 13:31

Funding for Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Programs

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $12.9 million in federal funding for 16 non-profit organizations to promote healthy diets and active lifestyles among individuals and households eligible to receive or that are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the five-year SNAP-Ed grants are aimed at helping low-income and working-class New Yorkers avoid obesity and chronic nutrition-related diseases, while improving their overall health outcomes.

'Eating healthy and exercising regularly are simple methods for decreasing the likelihood of serious and often life-altering health conditions,' Governor Cuomo said. 'Yet for many low-income New Yorkers, the path to a healthy, nutritious diet isn't always clear and often seems unattainable. This funding will help educate New Yorkers on the basic steps they can take toward healthier lifestyles, leading to thriving, vibrant communities in every corner of the Empire State.'

'We are committed to ensuring New Yorkers have access to programs and resources to promote healthy eating and good nutrition,' said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. 'This funding for community-based education and programs builds on our efforts to improve the wellness of all individuals and families regardless of income and where they live. We are continuing to work to break down social and economic barriers for people to live healthy and successful lives.'

Many low-income individuals and families in New York face social and economic barriers to nutrition and health and live in communities that are disproportionately affected by poverty. As a result, poverty, child poverty, food insecurity and obesity-related chronic disease in some communities can exceed state and even national averages.

The programs funded through the grants are aimed at helping low income families and individuals increase the amount of nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products in their diet, while avoiding unhealthy foods containing large amounts of added sugars, salt and saturated fat. Participants will also be encouraged to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors.

Each program will provide either a nutrition education using evidence-based curriculum, outreach through mass communications or at public events, or a nutritionist with training experience to communicate healthy eating and obesity prevention. The goal is to improve food resource management and preparation skills among participants, while also increasing access to affordable and nutritious foods.

The following organizations were awarded funding:

  • City Harvest; $800,000
  • Bronx Works; $689,706
  • Common Threads; $799,864
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County; $800,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany County; $300,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County; $796,276
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County; $800,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Onondaga County; $800,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County; $800,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Steuben County; $794,094
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension St. Lawrence County; $680,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Suffolk County; $800,000
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County; $799,897
  • Food Bank for New York City; $800,000
  • New York Common Pantry; $800,000
  • The Children's Aid Society; $738,155

Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County also received $1 million to provide technical assistance for the program.

OTDA will continue to partner with other state agencies that provide SNAP-Ed programming or services, including the state Department of Health and the state Office for the Aging. In addition, the agency will assist the state Department of Agriculture and Markets' FreshConnect Food Box Program, which provides healthy, fresh food options to underserved areas of the state, with a focus on New York City.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said, 'New Yorkers who struggle to put food on their table often find themselves resorting to low-cost meals that are high in calories and have limited nutritional value. As a result, low-income households suffer higher rates of chronic disease and health conditions. These programs will stress the critical importance of eating a healthy diet and how to best incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods into meals.'

State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, 'Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes eating nutritious foods and daily exercise improves health outcomes and longevity, but access to these key elements of good health is not always equal. These grants will help communities develop meaningful programs that reach those most at-risk for food insecurity and help them avoid obesity-related disease.'

Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, said, 'The key to good health starts with access to nutritious foods and promoting healthy eating habits. Nutrition counseling and nutrition education are low-cost, high yield services that make a tremendous difference for people by helping them master one of the most important prerequisites for good health: a balanced diet. When combining educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food- and nutrition-related behaviors, health improves. We look forward to our continued partnership with OTDA and the many community-based agencies that we work with to promote good health through better eating habits and ongoing outreach and education.'

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, 'We're proud to partner with OTDA, the Department of Health, and Aging to ensure that more New Yorkers have access to fresh, nutritious food. This is a win-win for our farmers, food and beverage producers and those who rely on SNAP and FreshConnect for balanced meals, which are essential for maintaining healthy and productive lives.'

OTDA's Eat Smart New York initiative also provides free online tools that can assist individuals and families in choosing a healthier diet. These include Eating Healthy on a Budget, an interactive module that provides planning tips for preparing healthy meals, tips for smart shopping, and links to nutritionist programs throughout the state.

Nearly 1.5 million households and more than 2.6 million people throughout New York - roughly one out of every five adults - rely on SNAP to avoid food insecurity, which is defined as lacking reliable access to an adequate amount of nutritious sustenance.

About 43 percent of SNAP recipients are in families with elderly or disabled members, 59 percent are in families with children; and 39 percent are in working families.

Research has shown that communities with the highest rates of food insecurity also have a higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity and individuals with some form of disability. Food insecure adults in New York are also likely to pay significantly more in healthcare costs than those who are not, a recent study found.

Food insecure women are more likely to experience birth complications, including low birthweight. Food insecurity has also been linked to many problems in children, including stunted growth, poorer academic performance and behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, aggression and anxiety.