WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- People on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program were 23 percent more likely to consume whole fruit than those who are not, U.S. researchers say.
Kevin Concannon, agriculture undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found overall, the diets of participants and low-income non-participants were similar but those on SNAP had a modest decrease in the consumption of dark green and orange vegetables.
"All Americans, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants and non-participants alike, have work to do when it comes to eating a healthy diet," Concannon said in a statement. "The results of this study reinforce the critical role of USDA programs designed to increase access to healthy foods and nutrition education among low-income children and families to help make the healthy choice, an easy choice."
The USDA is making fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible for low-income families. More than 3,200 farmers markets and farm stands are authorized to accept payment through SNAP, an increase of nearly 100 percent since 2010.
There were more than 47 million people on food stamps last January -- 23 million U.S. households -- an increase of 889,154 families from January 2012. The average benefit was $132 a week.