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Med Decis Making. 2013 Oct;33(7):937-48. doi: 10.1177/0272989X13493971. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Nutritional policy changes in the supplemental nutrition assistance program: a microsimulation and cost-effectiveness analysis.

Author information

1
Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA (SB).
2
Centers for Health Policy, Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA (SB, JB)
3
Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA (SB)
4
Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK (SB)
5
Center for Vulnerable Populations, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA (HS)
6
National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, USA (JB)

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Some experts have proposed limiting the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, for calorie-dense foods or subsidizing SNAP purchases of healthier foods.

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate health effects and cost-effectiveness of banning or taxing sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or subsidizing fruits and vegetables purchased with SNAP.

DESIGN:

. Microsimulation. Data Sources. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, US Department of Agriculture Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database, and SNAP program data.

TARGET POPULATION:

US adults aged 25 to 64 y. Time Horizon. 10 y. Perspective. Governmental.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Incremental costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), body mass index, Alternative Healthy Eating Index, Food Security Score, diabetes person-years, and deaths from myocardial infarctions (MIs) and strokes.

RESULTS:

of Base-Case Analysis. Banning SSB purchases using SNAP benefits would be expected to avert 510,000 diabetes person-years and 52,000 deaths from MIs and strokes over the next decade, with a savings of $2900 per QALY saved. A penny-per-ounce tax on SSBs purchased with SNAP dollars would produce higher cost savings due to tax revenues but avert fewer chronic disease deaths. However, some SNAP participants are likely to preferentially purchase SSBs through their disposable income, indirectly reducing their food security. A 30% produce subsidy would be expected to avert 39,000 diabetes person-years and 4600 cardiovascular deaths over 10 y without effects on food security. Results of Sensitivity Analysis. Results are sensitive to the intake elasticities of SSBs and produce. Limitations. Input data did not provide information on heterogeneity in response to price changes within the SNAP-using

POPULATION:

CONCLUSIONS:

SNAP restrictions on SSBs could lower chronic disease mortality, but further testing should examine indirect effects on disposable income and food security. Subsidizing produce could confer fewer benefits or risks but at higher cost.

KEYWORDS:

cardiovascular disease; chronic disease; diabetes; food stamps; nutrition; obesity; soda tax; vegetable subsidy

PMID:
23811757
DOI:
10.1177/0272989X13493971
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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