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Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?

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  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ver Ploeg, Michele & Ralston, Katherine L., 2008. "Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?," Economic Information Bulletin 58640, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersib:58640
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/58640/files/eib34.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. MacEwan, Joanna P. & Smith, Aaron & Alston, Julian M., 2016. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, energy balance, and weight gain," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 103-120.
    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. Sanjay Basu, 2014. "Improving Public Health Safety Nets After an Economic Recession," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 50, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    6. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2016. "Why has the prevalence of obesity doubled?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 251-267, June.
    7. Parks, Joanna C. & Smith, Aaron D. & Alston, Julian M., 2011. "The Effects of the Food Stamp Program on Energy Balance and Obesity," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100692, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    8. Dharmasena, Senarath & Bessler, David A. & Capps, Oral, 2016. "Food environment in the United States as a complex economic system," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 163-175.
    9. Charles L. Baum & Shin-Yi Chou, 2011. "The Socio-Economic Causes of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 17423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Gregory, Christian A. & Deb, Partha, 2015. "Does SNAP improve your health?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 11-19.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Elizabeth Howlett & Cassandra Davis & Scot Burton, 2016. "From Food Desert to Food Oasis: The Potential Influence of Food Retailers on Childhood Obesity Rates," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(2), pages 215-224, December.
    16. 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.
    17. Thomas Vartanian & Linda Houser, 2012. "The Effects of Childhood SNAP Use and Neighborhood Conditions on Adult Body Mass Index," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1127-1154, August.
    18. 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.
    19. repec:spr:aphecp:v:16:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s40258-018-0399-1 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Health Economics and Policy;

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