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

September 17, 2012
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."

Explore further: Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages could yield sweet results

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 ...

Stronger social safety net leads to decrease in stress, childhood obesity

July 21, 2011
Social safety net programs that reduce psychosocial stressors for low-income families also ultimately lead to a reduction in childhood obesity, according to research by a University of Illinois economist who studies the efficacy ...

BMC pediatricians find increase in SNAP benefits associated with healthier children

October 12, 2011
Pediatric researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC), in partnership with Children's HealthWatch investigators in Boston, Minneapolis, Little Rock, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, have found that higher benefit amounts in ...

Banning sugar-sweetened beverages in schools does not reduce consumption: study

November 7, 2011
State policies banning all sugar-sweetened beverages in schools are associated with reduced in-school access and purchase of these beverages, however these policies are not associated with a reduction in overall consumption ...

New study says soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity

June 14, 2012
Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published ...

Recommended for you

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

Higher levels of fluoride in pregnant woman linked to lower intelligence in their children

September 20, 2017
Fluoride in the urine of pregnant women shows a correlation with lower measures of intelligence in their children, according to University of Toronto researchers who conducted the first study of its kind and size to examine ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.