Study: Food Stamps May Not Improve Food Access or Diet

The Liberty Beat

By: Derrick Broze

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston have conducted a new study that suggests that food and nutrition assistance programs currently offered to millions of Americans may not be effective at current funding levels. The study found that people receiving assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fared no better than people in similar conditions who were not eligible or didn’t enroll in the program.

While past studies looked into whether SNAP improves people’s access to food and diet quality produced mixed results, the latest study indicates that people receiving SNAP benefits increased their consumption of refined grains like breads, pasta and rice by about one serving per day, foods that have been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. The researchers contacted 107 adults who had applied for SNAP and compared food access and diet quality among the 64 who enrolled and the 43 people who did not. While the researchers found food security improved slightly for both groups, neither one did substantially better than the other.

The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Eric Rimm is the study’s senior author and an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

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