Obesity Linked to Food Stamp Usage, Study Shows

Obesity has been linked to food stamps, though common sense says people who rely on food stamps to buy their groceries have a shortage of food. But, a new study shows the opposite to be true.

080723_food_stampsCommon sense might dictate that people who rely on food stamps to buy their groceries generally have a shortage of food, and therefore would have no issues with their weight.

But, a new study shows the opposite to be true, and draws a link between food stamps and obesity.The study, published in Economics and Human Biology, indicates that the average member of the U.S. Food Stamp Program has a body mass index one point higher than someone not on the program.

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The analysis examined roughly 4,000 stamp users against some 6,000 non-users, all picked at random. The findings were adjusted for race and socioeconomics. The results? Women using food stamps had an average body weight nearly six pounds heavier than a non-user – and the longer people stayed on food stamps, the higher their body mass index rose.

An evaluation of the American diet helps explain the study findings, since processed foods, which are often high in fat and sugar, tend also to be much cheaper than fresh produce. With more than 34 million Americans reliant on food stamps, the correlation with obesity has further repercussions in terms of increased health care costs.

Boston is one of several cities striving to change the trend through its “Bounty Bucks” program. The program doubles the dollar value of food stamps when they are used at local farmers markets, where fruits and vegetables rule the day.

One Response

  1. Ann

    Do these people that did the study shop. Processed food (such as in the freezer section) cost a ton more than the fresh foods. If I had to buy processed foods I would spend considerably more money on food.


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