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.
SNAP to Health: Recommendations to Improve Nutrition in the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
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 USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important … More
The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID-19 Pandemic
With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. … More