Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [“Food Stamps”]: Examining the Evidence to Define Benefit Adequacy

English: Logo of the .

English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The USDA asked the IOM and the National Research Council to consider whether it is feasible to objectively define the adequacy of SNAP allotments that meet the program goals and, if so, to outline the data and analyses needed to support and evidence-based assessment of SNAP adequacy.

 

Conclusions include:

 

  • The adequacy of SNAP allotments can be defined
  • The adequacy of SNAP allotments is influenced by individual, household,and environmental factors
    •  Unprocessed foods are the cheapest, yet many do not have the time to “cook from scratch”
    • Food prices vary among regions. While SNAP allotments are adjusted, not enough data to show this is working.
    • Nutrition education seems to be working, but evidence is insufficient.
  • The adequacy of SNAP allotments is influenced by program characteristics. The maximum monthly benefit,benefit reduction rate, and net income calculation have important impacts on SNAP allotments.[See this fact sheet for explanations of these terms]

 

And the Recommendations

 

“The committee offers its recommendations in three areas

  • First, it recommends elements that should be included by USDA-FNS in an evidence-based, objective definition and measurement of the adequacy of SNAP allotments.
  • Second, it recommends monitoring and assessment of the adequacy of SNAP allotments that is needed for evaluation and adjustment over time.
  • Third, it recommends additional research and data needed to support an evidence-based definition of allotment adequacy.
  • In addition, the committee describes other research considerations that would further understanding of allotment adequacy.

 

 

 

[This image is basically unreadable if smaller!, it was copied from the summary of the report]
 

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 5.03.07 AM

 

From the summary of the report at FullTextReports.com

 

For many Americans who live at or below the poverty threshold, access to healthy foods at a reasonable price is a challenge that often places a strain on already limited resources and may compel them to make food choices that are contrary to current nutritional guidance.

To help alleviate this problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers a number of nutrition assistance programs designed to improve access to healthy foods for low-income individuals and households. The largest of these programs is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the Food Stamp Program, which today serves more than 46 million Americans with a program cost in excess of $75 billion annually. The goals of SNAP include raising the level of nutrition among low-income households and maintaining adequate levels of nutrition by increasing the food purchasing power of low-income families.

In response to questions about whether there are different ways to define the adequacy of SNAP allotments consistent with the program goals of improving food security and access to a healthy diet, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a study to examine the feasibility of defining the adequacy of SNAP allotments, specifically:

  • the feasibility of establishing an objective, evidence-based, science-driven definition of the adequacy of SNAP allotments consistent with the program goals of improving food security and access to a healthy diet,
  • as well as other relevant dimensions of adequacy;
  • and data and analyses needed to support an evidence-based assessment of the adequacy of SNAP allotments.

 

 

 

January 24, 2013 - Posted by | Nutrition | , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: