DUO Lifts Oklahoma Communities, Agriculture, and Lifestyles
Double Up Oklahoma has potential to transform our state through bold vision and action
by Jessica Dietrich, Policy and Government Relations Manager
October 22, 2021
Oklahoma has some of the poorest health indicators in the nation, ranking 45th overall according to the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings 2020 report. The same report ranks Oklahoma 49th in fruit and vegetable consumption and 46th in household food security.
There is a significant body of evidence that suggests fruit and vegetable consumption is key for improving health outcomes and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Polling conducted in late 2019 by Hunger Free Oklahoma revealed that 64% of all Oklahomans and 81% of Oklahoma SNAP households said the primary reason they did not purchase healthy and nutritious food was because it is too expensive. Oklahomans already struggle to afford their basic needs on a daily basis. The high cost of healthy foods furthers the cycle of poverty where healthcare costs increase due to chronic disease caused by nutrition deficiency.
This data indicates that our state needs to take a new, more widespread approach to improving health outcomes. The sooner the state invests in meaningful steps to improving nutrition the sooner the state will see more positive health outcomes. Exploring a state investment in Double Up Oklahoma makes sense as the next step: the program is already operating efficiently and effectively and is ready to scale up, the vast majority of resources go straight to those who need it most, and it meets low-income Oklahomans where they are and serves them in a dignified manner. Double Up Oklahoma incentives fresh fruit and vegetable purchases by matching each dollar spent in SNAP with one dollar in DUO bucks that can be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables (up to $20 per EBT card per day).
Beyond the health and food security benefits, programs like Double Up Oklahoma help local economies thrive. Nutrition incentives provide a boost to the economy beyond the funds spent: for every dollar in nutrition incentives spent it can generate up to $2.90 for the local economy. Keeping funds circulating in the state economy supports businesses and creates jobs.
Not only would a state investment in DUO positively impact health and food security outcomes for Oklahomans, 88% of Oklahomans* support funding for produce incentives among low-income families. Further, through a competitive USDA grant, we have the opportunity to match non-federal funds with federal funds, bringing more of Oklahomans’ tax dollars back home to better serve our state.
Double Up Oklahoma is a win-win-win for our state: it increases food security, supports healthier eating, and helps local farmers, grocery stores, and economies thrive.
*December 2019 poll conducted by Hunger Free Oklahoma.