SNAP to Health: Recommendations to Improve Nutrition in the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal food assistance program in the United States. In April 2012, a record 46.2 million people—approximately 15% of the U.S. population—were enrolled in SNAP. Nearly 50 percent of SNAP beneficiaries are children. Given the significant reach SNAP has among the lower-income populations most vulnerable to food insecurity and poor nutrition, the program’s provisions could be powerful policy levers for improving nutrition for a large number of Americans. However, SNAP does not currently offer incentives to beneficiaries to encourage the purchase of nutritious products for themselves and their children, makes little use of its buying power to encourage a healthier food marketplace, and places few limits on the types of foods and beverages that may be purchased with SNAP benefits. For this project, investigators undertook a scientific literature review on SNAP, conducted key informant interviews with experts across multiple sectors, and designed and implemented a survey of more than 500 key stakeholders to identify barriers and opportunities for improving nutrition for SNAP beneficiaries. A set of recommended strategies for redesigning the program in order to improve the nutrition of participants was developed, focusing particularly on the child and adolescent beneficiaries.
Start Date: April 2011
ID #: CAS007
Organization: Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
Given the coexistence of hunger and obesity in the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can play a critical role in addressing these public health problems. In April 2012, 46.2 million people were enrolled in SNAP, of whom nearly 50 percent are children. The … More
The healthfulness of foods and beverages found in retail food stores differs widely across the United States, both by location of the store as well as by store type. Some communities have limited access to stores that carry healthful staple foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, and … More
Improvements in the healthiness of packaged foods and beverages consumed by children and adolescents could have an impact on obesity through improved dietary intake patterns. Food manufacturers have new incentives to reformulate foods in response to changes in the Nutrition Facts label (NFL) and serving sizes scheduled to go into … More