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Healthy Eating Benefits Waistline And Wallets For Low-Income Families

— The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides low-income families who qualify with food vouchers.

Those vouchers will soon have double value when used to buy healthy foods, like fresh fruit and vegetables.

The incentive idea comes from the California Endowment, a statewide health foundation.

Tony Iton, M.D., J.D., is senior vice president at California Endowment. He said the value vouchers are an incentive for people in low income areas to make healthier choices.

“This will allow people to be able to go purchase fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets and other stores" and get double the value for their vouchers, said Iton.

He also said the ultimate goal of the program is to reduce childhood obesity in at-risk populations, including WIC recipients.

The 10-year, $200-million dollar project is funded by various private sponsors and donations.

But, consumers aren’t the only ones who could get more bang for their greenbacks.

The plan also includes subsidy incentives for grocery stores in neighborhoods like City Heights.

“We’re trying to change the landscape, so that grocery stores are more likely to come into certain communities and serve them, we’re actually trying to subsidize their operations,” said Iton.

The healthy food incentive plan was announced at the 6th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference in San Diego earlier this week.

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