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Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?

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Author Info

  • Ver Ploeg, Michele
  • Ralston, Katherine L.

Abstract

Results from reviewed studies indicate that for most participants in the Food Stamp Program—children, nonelderly men, and the elderly—use of food stamp benefits does not result in an increase in either Body Mass Index (BMI) or the likelihood of being overweight or obese. However, for nonelderly women, who account for 28 percent of the food stamp caseload, some evidence suggests that participation in the Food Stamp Program may increase BMI and the probability of obesity. Different results for age and sex subgroups remain unexplained. Further, because food stamp benefits are issued to households, not individuals, mixed results across age and sex subgroups make it difficult to target policy alternatives to address potential weight gain among some participants while not affecting others in the household.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Information Bulletin with number 58640.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:uersib:58640

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Related research

Keywords: Food Stamp Program; obesity; Body Mass Index.; Health Economics and Policy;

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Cited by:
  1. Gregory, Christian A. & Ver Ploeg, Michele & Andrews, Margaret S. & Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, 2012. "SNAP and Diet Quality: An Instrumental Variables Approach," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124757, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Thomas Vartanian & Linda Houser, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood SNAP Use and Neighborhood Conditions on Adult Body Mass Index," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 1127-1154, August.
  3. Parks, Joanna C. & Smith, Aaron D. & Alston, Julian M., 2011. "The Effects of the Food Stamp Program on Energy Balance and Obesity," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103537, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Chad D. Meyerhoefer & Muzhe Yang, 2011. "The Relationship between Food Assistance and Health: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Strategies for Identifying Program Effects," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 304-344.
  5. Huang, Ying & Huffman, Wallace, 2013. "Forward Looking Decision Making: The Effects of the Food Stamp Program Participation on Women’s Obesity in the NLSY," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150264, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Han, Euna & Powell, Lisa M. & Pugach, Oksana, 2011. "The heterogenous relationship of food stamp participation with body mass: Quantile regression model," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 499-506, August.
  7. Zagorsky, Jay L. & Smith, Patricia K., 2009. "Does the U.S. Food Stamp Program contribute to adult weight gain?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 246-258, July.
  8. Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, 2011. "Can Food Stamps help to reduce Medicare spending on diabetes?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-13, January.
  9. Tiehen, Laura & Jolliffe, Dean & Gundersen, Craig, 2012. "How State Policies Influence the Efficacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Reducing Poverty," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124937, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  10. Han, Euna & Powell, Lisa M. & Isgor, Zeynep, 2012. "Supplemental nutrition assistance program and body weight outcomes: The role of economic contextual factors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1874-1881.
  11. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2011. "The Socio-Economic Causes of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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