USDA Study Shows SNAP Participation Leads to Improved Food Security

Release No.
FNS-0011.13

Contact:
FNS Office of Communications and Governmental Affairs (703) 305-2281

WASHINGTON, August 6, 2013 –Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) leads to improved food security, particularly among low-income children, according to the findings of Measuring the Effect of SNAP Participation on Food Security released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.

According to the study, among households that participated in SNAP for about six months there was a significant decrease in food insecurity. The effect was even stronger for households in which children are experiencing food insecurity.  Research suggests that children in food-insecure households face higher risks of health and development problems than children in otherwise similar food-secure households.

“The results of this study reiterate the vital role of SNAP in reducing hunger and ensuring that the next generation has access to the nutritious food it needs to grow up healthy and strong,” said Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon.

USDA is focused on improving childhood nutrition and empowering families to make healthier food choices by providing science-based information and advice, while expanding the availability of healthy food.

  • USDA provides shopping strategies and meal planning advice to help families serve more nutritious meals affordably through its 10-Tips Nutrition Series and the Thrifty Food Plan.
  • USDA's MyPlate symbol and the resources at ChooseMyPlate.gov provide quick, easy reference tools to facilitate healthy eating on a budget for parents, teachers, healthcare professionals and communities. USDA's SuperTracker, a free online planning and tracking tool, helps more than two million Americans improve food choices, maintain a healthy weight, and track physical activity on a daily basis.
  • Participation in USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program led to a third of a cup increase in fruit and vegetable consumption per day by low-income children. The program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students in the nation’s poorest elementary schools by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals.
  • USDA recently published an interim final rule that supports our efforts, working with state partners, to implement effective nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions in SNAP.
  • America's students now have healthier and more nutritious school meals due to improved nutrition standards implemented as a result of the historic Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. USDA recently announced Smart Snacks in Schools, which sets guidelines for all foods and beverages sold in school, to ensure that students will be offered only healthier food options during the school day.
  • USDA recently announced expanded eligibility for $4 million in grants to improve access to fresh produce and healthy foods for SNAP shoppers at America's farmers markets. By increasing the number of farmers markets that are able to accept SNAP benefits, we are encouraging SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase and prepare healthy foods for their families.

USDA’s Economic Research Service defines food insecure households as having limited consistent access to adequate food due to a lack of money and other resources at times during the year. In households with very low food security, eating patterns of one or more household members are disrupted and food intake reduced because the household lacks money and other resources for food.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including SNAP, that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. These programs work together to form a national safety net against hunger. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.

Read the summary  and full results of the report.

 

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