Start Date: April 2011

ID #: CAS007

Organization: Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Project Lead: Susan Blumenthal, MD, MPA

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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.

Related Research

July 2012

SNAP to Health: A Fresh Approach to Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

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 reauthorization of the SNAP program More

November 2023

Supporting the Wake Forest School of Medicine in implementing a WIC referral program within electronic health records to optimize WIC participation

The United States has an ongoing maternal and infant health crisis, characterized by stark disparities. The WIC program could equitably improve health outcomes, but it is underutilized. Identifying strategies for healthcare systems to efficiently connect pregnant patients with WIC is a public health and policy priority. This study will use the electronic health record (EHR) More

November 2023

Assessing participation in and implementation of summer electronic-benefits-transfer and non-congregate-meal programs in rural areas

Summer EBT and non-congregate meals are summer meal options that have known associations with reducing food hardship and barriers to food access. But take-up can vary across states, which creates disparities among marginalized populations. The study aims to analyze the coverage, take-up, and implementation decisions made around Summer EBT and non-congregate meals. The research team More