Thursday, February 2, 2017

Boosting SNAP Benefits Could Improve Eating Habits

In response to the recent controversy over whether SNAP funds should be used to buy sugary drinks, one commentator suggests that raising SNAP benefits would promote healthier eating. Low-income people, he argues, particularly people of color and those living in rural areas, lack access to healthy food options.

Research on food availability finds that low-income communities tended to have fewer supermarkets and fewer “healthy, high quality foods in nearby stores.”

Even when a lack of transportation options isn’t limiting their ability to locate better food sources, low-income people may struggle to afford healthier items. An analysis of the relationship between SNAP benefits and both food spending and food-related activities shows that a $30 boost to SNAP benefits could increase vegetable consumption by about 1.5%, increase the time spent on food shopping and preparation by 2.5 and 3.5%, respectively, and decrease fast food consumption by about 2.5%.

Source: Washington Post, 1/26/17, Boost SNAP, Eat Better

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