Study: Incentives needed for healthy foods

12/16/2013 03:53:00 PM
Tom Karst

Typically, most incentive programs have applied to farmers markets, but the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks has piloted a program in Michigan for independent supermarkets. Another healthy food incentive project in Minnesota was retail-based, DiSogra said.

The New America Foundation report said key barriers to improving the diets of the 47 million SNAP participants were unhealthy foods marketed in low-income communities (55%), the comparatively high cost of healthy foods (50%) and the lifestyle challenges (47%) faced by low-income individuals and SNAP participants.

Of those responding to the survey, 77% said SNAP food purchases should be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, more than 80% of those surveyed believe the USDA should collect data about food purchases made with SNAP benefits to help evaluate whether certain products may be associated with obesity among those who receive SNAP benefits.

“Aligning SNAP with national public health priorities is a matter of urgency to ensure a healthier future for low-income Americans,” authors of the report said.

Those responding to the survey expressed support for new approaches to improve the nutritional status of SNAP recipients, according to the release, including:

 

  • Providing a variety of incentives for purchasing healthful foods;
  • Minimum standards for stocking healthy foods to be certified as a SNAP retailer;
  • Updating nutrition education and messaging in the SNAP program to be consistent with other federal nutrition assistance programs; and
  • Using information technology and social media for nutrition education and outreach.


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