An Old Debate Bubbles Up – Should Soft Drinks or Sugar Sweetened Beverages be Prohibited for Purchase with Federal Food Stamps?
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CitationRebecca Lundin, An Old Debate Bubbles Up – Should Soft Drinks or Sugar Sweetened Beverages be Prohibited for Purchase with Federal Food Stamps? (August 2011).
AbstractFood stamps are a food relief program that provides subsidies to needy Americans for the purchase of foods to supplement their diets in the interest of improving nutrition levels. The program currently allows the purchase of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) despite scientific research that has implicated consumption of these items in the incidence of a host of negative health outcomes including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dental cavities. Recently, the governments of Minnesota and New York have proposed the prohibition of SSB purchase with food stamps in order to address the bourgeoning obesity epidemic that has been linked with high consumption of SSB. While groups as diverse as anti-hunger organizations and beverage industry lobbyists have pushed back on these proposals, a compelling argument to continue allowing SSB purchase with food stamps has yet to be made. This paper lays out the history of the food stamp program to illuminate its current goals and trajectory, provides evidence of the health risks associated with SSB consumption, and deconstructs some of the most prevalent arguments against banning SSB purchase from the food stamp program. The proposal to ban SSB purchases with food stamps is in line with a growing body of empirical research and the clear aim of the food stamp program to improve nutrition and health, and opponents have yet to produce any clear and compelling arguments against its implementation. Pilot programs should be initiated and evaluated before this promising initiative goes flat.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9414581
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