The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest United States Department of Agriculture federal nutrition assistance program. As an entitlement program, SNAP is designed to expand as incomes fall, enabling the program to respond quickly when need increases. For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP served an average of 37 million income-eligible Americans each month; however, SNAP enrollment has increased to more than 41.5 million during the pandemic as many individuals have lost jobs or other sources of income. Given the reach of the federal nutrition safety net, efforts to strengthen the public health impact of programs, including SNAP, have provided critical opportunities to improve food security, diet quality, health, and well-being for millions of Americans. This report will identify key policy opportunities that have the greatest potential to improve SNAP participants’ nutritional status and health. The full report also provides a research summary of the effectiveness of SNAP, reviews prior efforts to increase the public health impacts of SNAP, and goes into greater depth on the current policy landscape and key actions for each of the seven opportunities presented.
Strengthening the Public Health Impacts of SNAP: Key Opportunities for the Next Farm Bill
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
Promoting Responsive Bottle-Feeding Within WIC: Evaluation of a Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Approach
Bottle-fed infants are at greater risk for overfeeding and rapid weight gain (RWG), so evidence-based strategies for promoting healthy bottle-feeding practices are needed. The aim of this study was to assess whether policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies for promoting responsive bottle-feeding practices within the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for … More