Federal food program pays $2 billion annually for sugar-sweetened beverages

Federal food program pays $2 billion annually for sugar-sweetened beverages
Credit: Shutterstock

(Medical Xpress)—The federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) pays at least $2 billion annually for sugar-sweetened beverages purchased in grocery stores alone, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

The study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, provides a conservative estimate on spending because it does not include sugar-sweetened beverage SNAP purchases from other retail channels such as convenience stores or WalMart.  

SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, is designed to offer financial assistance to low-income people and families to buy the food they need for good nutrition and health. The Yale researchers compiled data from a regional supermarket chain, then studied beverage purchases by households and families with a history of participation in federal nutrition assistance programs.  

Researchers found that 58 percent of all refreshment purchased by SNAP participants were for sugar-sweetened beverages such as regular soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks. According to the researchers, SNAP benefits paid for 72 percent of these purchases.

"SNAP benefits are critically important in helping low-income families put food on the table, and in this economy, many American families could not feed their children without the federal food assistance provided by SNAP," notes lead author, Tatiana Andreyeva, the Rudd Center's director of economic initiatives.

"At the same time, the annual use of billions of dollars in SNAP benefits to purchase products at the core of public health concerns about obesity and chronic illnesses is misaligned with the goal of helping economically vulnerable families live active, healthy lives," Andreyeva adds. "Anti-hunger and public health advocates should work together to ensure that all government assistance programs are implemented in a way that is consistent with helping Americans meet government dietary recommendations."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages could yield sweet results

May 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages a penny-per-ounce could reduce consumption and generate significant revenue, finds a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University and the Bridging ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

23 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments