Maybe you’ve heard the words “The Farm Bill” in the news over the years. The Farm Bill is a very large bill that guides the mission of the USDA- including the “food stamps” program- now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. The USDA law undergoes review and reauthorization about every 5 years- and the next reauthorization of the law comes up next year. Since so much food goes through the SNAP program- it provides an interesting leverage point in the national fight to reduce obesity.
I’d like to see SNAP hard-wire better nutrition into the program by beginning to include nutritious food inventory criteria for SNAP vendors. A recently published white paper by a group of researchers from ASU’s School of Nutrition & Health Promotion will help us leverage our position to advocate this policy change. Requiring SNAP vendors to meet nutritious food criteria will also help bring us closer to realizing our vision to be recognized as the leader in obesity prevention in Arizona.
The ASU report, Policy Considerations for Improving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Making a Case for Decreasing the Burden of Obesity documents four key strategies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of SNAP that are: improving access to healthy foods to provide better choices; incentivizing purchase of healthy foods; restricting access to unhealthy foods; and maximizing education to more effectively reach a larger population of SNAP participants. Take a look at the full report, it’s worth the time.