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Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan;95(1):17-24. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.012294. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation is related to adiposity and metabolic risk factors.

Author information

  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. cleung@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition assistance program. In recent years, SNAP participation rates increased during times of economic hardship.

OBJECTIVE:

We examined whether household SNAP participation was associated with adiposity and metabolic risk factors in a representative sample of low-income US adults.

DESIGN:

A cross-sectional analysis was performed with the use of data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The study population was restricted to nonelderly adults whose household incomes fell to or <130% of the federal poverty level. Multinomial logistic and Poisson regression models were fit to examine the associations between SNAP participation and BMI, waist circumference, and metabolic risk factors among 2250 low-income adults.

RESULTS:

In the previous 12 mo, 32.8% of adults received household SNAP benefits. SNAP participation was positively associated with obesity [prevalence ratio (PR): 1.58; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.31], waist circumference in men (PR for top compared with bottom quartile: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.15, 3.62; P = 0.02), and waist circumference in women (PR: 2.95; 95% CI: 1.51, 5.77; P = 0.003; P-interaction with sex = 0.11), independent of sociodemographic characteristics. SNAP participation was also related to elevated triglycerides (PR: 1.71; 95% CI: 1.33, 2.20), lower HDL cholesterol (PR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.41), elevated fasting glucose (≥110 mg/dL; PR: 1.63; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.52), and metabolic syndrome (PR: 1.49; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.95). Associations with triglycerides and HDL cholesterol persisted after adjustment for BMI.

CONCLUSION:

Household SNAP participation was positively associated with BMI, waist circumference, and metabolic risk factors among low-income adults. These associations may be mediated by dietary intake and warrant further investigation.

PMID:
22170370
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3238460
Free PMC Article
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