NYC is climbing on the SNAP better nutrition train today; it is asking the feds to forbid people from buying sugary drinks with food stamps. This should sound pretty familiar to my blog readers. I’ve been banging on this drum for months – we need to add nutritional standards to the criteria for folks who benefit from the nutritional package. After all, it is called Supplemental NUTRITION Assistance Program.
In March when I was in DC, I talked to AZ Congressional staff about adding it to the language when they review the farm bill that authorizes SNAP. I also got to talk to folks at USDA about the impact of obesity on public health. Childhood obesity is one of the CDCs 5 Winnable Battles and one that has a great impact on the future health of our state. Changing what can be bought by people with SNAP money could greatly impact the rate of obesity for kids and adults in this country.
There are two ways to do it – the government could prohibit the purchase of specific products or there could be an industry panel to establish SNAP recommended products with higher nutritional standards. If parents were able to tell their kids they can’t buy certain products because it doesn’t have a special stamp or logo, they could give their kids better food and not be the bad person – parents can blame the government.
The feds could also do it by what they require the stores who accept SNAP money to carry. It already does that with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Because of the change in the WIC food package last year, more convenience stores have fresh fruits and vegetables in Arizona.