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The impact of long‐term participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program on child obesity

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  • Maximilian D. Schmeiser

Abstract

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reached an all‐time high of 40.2 million persons in March 2010, which means the program affects a substantial fraction of Americans. A significant body of research has emerged suggesting that participation in SNAP increases the probability of being obese for adult women and has little effect on the probability for adult men. However, studies addressing the effects of participation on children have produced mixed results. This paper examines the effect of long‐term SNAP participation on the Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile and probability of being overweight or obese for children ages 5–18 using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Children and Young Adults data set. An instrumental variables identification strategy that exploits exogenous variation in state‐level program parameters, as well as state and federal expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is used to address the endogeneity between SNAP participation and obesity. SNAP participation is found to significantly reduce BMI percentile and the probability of being overweight or obese for boys and girls ages 5–11 and boys ages 12–18. For girls ages 12–18, SNAP participation appears to have no significant effect on these outcomes. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2012. "The impact of long‐term participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program on child obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 386-404, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:21:y:2012:i:4:p:386-404
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1714
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.1714
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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Almada & Ian McCarthy & Rusty Tchernis, 2016. "What Can We Learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 997-1017.
    2. 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.
    3. Bronchetti, Erin T. & Christensen, Garret & Hoynes, Hilary W., 2019. "Local food prices, SNAP purchasing power, and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    4. Lawrence M. Berger & Sarah A. Font & Kristen S. Slack & Jane Waldfogel, 2017. "Income and child maltreatment in unmarried families: evidence from the earned income tax credit," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1345-1372, December.
    5. Just, David R. & Gabrielyan, Gnel, 2018. "Influencing the food choices of SNAP consumers: Lessons from economics, psychology and marketing," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 309-317.
    6. Jo, Young, 2017. "The Differences in Characteristics Among Households With and Without Obese Children: Findings From USDA’s FoodAPS," Economic Information Bulletin 263089, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Rigdon, Joseph & Berkowitz, Seth A. & Seligman, Hilary K. & Basu, Sanjay, 2017. "Re-evaluating associations between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation and body mass index in the context of unmeasured confounders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 112-124.
    8. Maoyong Fan & Yanhong Jin, 2015. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Childhood Obesity in the United States: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 432-460, Fall.
    9. Christensen, Garret & Bronchetti, Erin Todd, 2020. "Local food prices and the purchasing power of SNAP benefits," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).

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