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J Nutr. 2003 Jul;133(7):2225-31.

Food stamp program participation is positively related to obesity in low income women.

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School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York, NY 10010, USA.


This study examined the relationship between Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation and the obesity of low income individuals using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. Obesity was defined as body mass index >or= 30 kg/m(2). The data were arranged as a panel with multiple observations per individual, and the models of obesity included current and long-term FSP participation, additional demographic, socioeconomic and environment characteristics and individual fixed effects. Individual fixed effects were used to take into account unobserved differences across individuals that did not vary over time. In ordinary least squares models, current and long-term FSP participation were significantly related to the obesity of low income women (P < 0.05), but not of low income men. For low income women, current participation in the FSP was associated with a 9.1% increase in the predicted probability of current obesity. Participation in the FSP in each of the previous five years compared to no participation over that time period was associated with approximately a 20.5% increase in the predicted probability of current obesity. These models did not control for food insecurity, and this omission potentially complicates the interpretation of the FSP participation variables.

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