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New poll shows US public supports continued investment in Federal Nutrition Assistance Program
Date:12/5/2012

Boston, MA A new poll from researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) shows that the U.S. public broadly supports increasing or maintaining spending on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The majority of Americans, including a majority of SNAP participants, also supported policies to improve the nutritional impact of SNAP by incentivizing the purchase of healthy foods and restricting the purchase of sugary drinks.

Congress is expected to debate changes, including potential cuts, to SNAP and other components of federal nutrition policy in the coming months as part of the stalled 2012 Farm Bill. More than one in seven Americans receives benefits from the SNAP program each month.

"This study provides decision-makers with a clear statement of public support for continued federal investment in preventing hunger and severe poverty through the SNAP program," said lead author Michael Long, a doctoral candidate at HSPH. "As Congress debates a new Farm Bill, these results show that SNAP participants and the broader public support innovative changes to the program that address the present obesity epidemic and the growing epidemic of diabetes and other diet-related diseases burdening so many of our nation's families."

The poll analysis appears on December 5, 2012 in an advance online edition of Public Health Nutrition.

U.S. adults reported widespread support (77%) across all political parties and demographic groups for increased or maintained federal spending on SNAP. Americans also supported a range of policy proposals intended to help SNAP participants improve their diets, including:

  • Providing additional money to SNAP participants than can only be used to purchase fruits, vegetables, or other healthful foods (82%).

  • Educating SNAP participants by providing nutrition or cooking classes (74%).

  • Removing sugary
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Contact: Marge Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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