SNAP and obesity

SNAP has proven to be one of the most successful safety net programs since its implementation 50 years ago. This program has often come under attack throughout its history for many perceived problems (e.g., that it discourages labor force participation). Most recently, SNAP has come under attack for being perceived as one of the causes of the current rates of obesity found in the U.S. One response that has gained some traction is to restrict what can and cannot be purchased with SNAP. There is very little evidence that SNAP is associated with higher probabilities of obesity among participants in comparison to eligible non-participants. In contrast, there is clear evidence that a) SNAP improves the well-being of recipients over numerous dimensions, and(b) imposing restrictions will lead to declines in participation. In light of this evidence, policymakers and program administrators should be reluctant to make fundamental changes to a program as successful as SNAP.



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Craig Gundersen


SNAP and obesity