Led by UNC-Chapel Hill researchers, a new JAMA study showed that an additional $40 per month for SNAP beneficiaries substantially increased the purchase of healthier food options for people who struggle with food insecurity.
CHAPEL HILL, NC – Food insecurity is associated with a less healthy diet. And using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to as food stamps, is associated with reduced food insecurity, though it’s unclear if beneficiaries can afford to purchase enough healthy foods. So the National Institute of Food and Agriculture sponsored the creation of SuperSNAP, which provides SNAP beneficiaries an additional $40 per month for the purchase of fruits and vegetables with no added sugar, sodium, or fat.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied the effects of SuperSNAP, which is run through Reinvestment Partners out of Durham, NC, to see if the additional funds translated into the purchase of more healthful foods, setting the stage for better health outcomes.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers found that in the first eight months of the program, SuperSNAP participants not only bought more healthy foods with the extra $40, but they also markedly increased their total purchase of healthier foods with SNAP benefits.
“Our goal now is to see if healthy food incentive programs improve health outcomes,” said first author Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH, assistant professor of general medicine and epidemiology at the UNC School of Medicine. “We will investigate this