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Public Health Nutr. 2014 Dec;17(12):2824-33. doi: 10.1017/S1368980013002942. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Strategies to improve the dietary quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries: an assessment of stakeholder opinions.

Author information

1
1New America Foundation,1899 L Street,NW - Suite 400,Washington,DC 20036,USA.
2
2National League of Cities,Washington,DC,USA.
3
3Center for Health and Community,School of Medicine,University of California,San Francisco,3333 California Street - Suite 465,San Francisco,CA 94118,USA.
4
4School-Based Health Alliance,Washington,DC,USA.
5
5Department of Economics,Iowa State University,Ames,IA,USA.
6
6Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress,Washington,DC,USA.
7
7Department of Nutrition,Harvard School of Public Health,Boston,MA,USA.
8
8Department of Nutrition,Food Studies and Public Health,New York University,New York,NY,USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the opinions of stakeholders on strategies to improve dietary quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants.

DESIGN:

Participants answered a thirty-eight-item web-based survey assessing opinions and perceptions of SNAP and programme policy changes.

SETTING USA SUBJECTS:

Survey of 522 individuals with stakeholder interest in SNAP, conducted in October through December 2011.

RESULTS:

The top three barriers to improving dietary quality identified were: (i) unhealthy foods marketed in low-income communities; (ii) the high cost of healthy foods; and (iii) lifestyle challenges faced by low-income individuals. Many respondents (70 %) also disagreed that current SNAP benefit levels were adequate to maintain a healthy diet. Stakeholders believed that vouchers, coupons or monetary incentives for purchasing healthful foods might have the greatest potential for improving the diets of SNAP participants. Many respondents (78 %) agreed that sodas should not be eligible for purchases with SNAP benefits. More than half (55 %) believed retailers could easily implement such restrictions. A majority of respondents (58 %) agreed that stores should stock a minimum quantity of healthful foods in order to be certified as a SNAP retailer, and most respondents (83 %) believed that the US Department of Agriculture should collect data on the foods purchased with SNAP benefits.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results suggest that there is broad stakeholder support for policies that align SNAP purchase eligibility with national public health goals of reducing food insecurity, improving nutrition and preventing obesity.

PMID:
24476898
PMCID:
PMC4014633
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980013002942
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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