GardenShare

GardenShare

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

RESTRICTING SNAP FOOD PURCHASES WON’T FIX NUTRITION ISSUE


The Agriculture House Committee recently held a public hearing on the pros and cons of restricting how SNAP benefits can be used. This hearing is the latest discussion over the news that people use food stamps to buy junk food, which some see as a flagrant abuse of a government program.  But two sociology professors from North Carolina State University write that trying to restrict what poor people eat ignores the heart of the problem: that many poor families don’t have adequate resources and support. For the past 5 years, they have been studying 124 low-income women, even going to the market with some of them. They found that the women in the study consumed about the same amount of “empty calories” as other women. Where they fell short was for healthy but relatively expensive foods, such as seafood, fresh fruit, and vegetables. This  pattern follows national dietary patterns--although both rich and poor Americans generally have cut down on sugary drinks and are eating more whole grains, poor people fall behind with pricy foods like fresh fruits and nuts.

Source: The Hill, 2/17/17, Restricting SNAP Purchases; USA Today, 2/16/17, Junk Food on SNAP