Originally published May 16 2015
40% of food stamp recipients obese; SNAP participants buy more soda, fewer fruits and vegetables
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Most Americans are fairly generous and mindful that not everyone has the same economic opportunities as they do. Therefore, most people are generally supportive of so-called "social safety net" programs that help the poorest among us.
However, many Americans are also supportive of changes in public policy related to those programs when they are needed, and when the country's food assistance programs are creating problems in other areas of assistance -- like publicly funded health care -- then it is time to make some changes.
In an astonishingly frank assessment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which manages the nation's food assistance programs, found that those who receive food stamps are far more likely to be overweight and obese than those who do not receive the assistance.
As reported by The Daily Caller, the USDA essentially blamed poor dietary habits in its newly released study. The department looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 and 2010, and it found that 29 percent of Americans are overweight and 31 percent are obese.
Subsidizing junk food companiesHowever, 40 percent of those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) were obese. Meanwhile, just 32 percent of income-eligible nonparticipants were obese and 30 percent of those who earned too much money to qualify were obese.
The patterns held for children as well, meaning that the next generation of Americans is likely to only add to the nation's worsening health care crisis.
Citing the report, The Daily Caller noted further:
Fourteen percent of children enrolled in the SNAP program were overweight while 24 percent are obese. For income-eligible nonparticipants, 15 percent were overweight while 20 percent were obese. Among higher-income nonparticipants, 15 percent were overweight while 13 percent were obese.
Among adults, 28 percent of SNAP recipients were overweight and 44 percent are obese. Thirty-one percent of income-eligible nonparticipants were overweight and another 33 percent were obese. Among higher-income nonparticipants, 32 percent were overweight and 32 percent were obese.
The biggest reason that obesity is rising among the nations' SNAP participants has to do with making poor food choices. Essentially, taxpayers are subsidizing junk food.
The USDA study found that SNAP recipients were less likely than non-recipients to eat raw vegetables and fruit and instead were more likely to consume sugary and "diet" soda, neither of which is healthy.
This hits taxpayers in two ways. The first is through government food supplementation; the second is through government-provided health care funding. Most SNAP recipients also qualify for taxpayer-subsidized health care coverage under Obamacare via state and federal expansions of Medicaid. In essence, funding SNAP recipients' poor food choices will ultimately lead to poorer health, thereby causing health care costs to rise. These costs also must be borne by taxpayers and health insurance customers who make more money (via higher premiums).
JPMorgan Chase getting its share, tooAs noted in the USDA report, SNAP Education (SNAP Ed) programs give states the option of offering instruction to recipients about how to make healthier food purchases with limited resources as well as tips about exercise and healthier living. In 2010, the program was expanded to provide more assistance. However, based on dietary trends before and since, the program doesn't seem to have much effect.
There is another aspect to these food assistance programs as well: they are helping corporate banks boost their profit margins. As NaturalNews reported, JPMorgan Chase -- one of the financial institutions that received hundreds of billions in taxpayer bailout funds in 2008 -- reaps hundreds of millions a year from the federal food programs:
For every American that signs up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 23 states, it turns out, JPMorgan Chase & Co. earns a processing fee of between 31 cents and $2.30 per month, which adds up to nearly $1 billion a year in additional revenues for the company.
A program that enriches bailed-out banks, encourages poor dietary habits and does not do enough to educate recipients about healthier, locally-grown foods while supporting junk food companies is in dire need of reform.
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