Wednesday, May 13, 2015


SNAP recipients are more likely to be obese than the general population, according to a USDA study of data from 2007 through 2010, which found Americans on food stamps were more likely to be obese than other groups, including people who didn't receive benefits even though they were poor enough to qualify. Forty percent of SNAP beneficiaries were obese during those years, the study found, compared with 32% of poor people who didn't get SNAP benefits and 30% of higher-income Americans. The finding doesn't mean SNAP makes people fat, though the possibility of correlation is something researchers have long explored.

Source: Huffington Post, 5/5/15, SNAP & Obesity 

It's important to note that this research does not say that SNAP causes obesity.  The more likely conclusion to draw is that poverty causes obesity, as people struggle to provide enough food on limited budgets and so often end up buying the cheapest food, instead of the healthiest food.

A few years ago, while giving a tour of the food bank where I previously worked, a rather haughty, clearly well-to-do woman, told me that she would never make those kind of decisions for her family.  The situation required me to be polite, but I remember thinking how lucky she was that she could never even imagine facing that kind of decision.

I can imagine it and so I worked hard while at the food bank to provide healthy food to people in need - when I left there, a full 50% of the food we distributed was fresh produce.

And I'll keep working hard at GardenShare to give low-income people, whether on SNAP or not, access to our local farmers markets and CSA's!