BOSTON (May 16, 2018)—A new study modeled the effects of six food subsidy and tax combinations on improving diet quality and mortality from cardiometabolic disease according to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) status, with some combinations estimating lower overall mortality, and others estimating reductions in mortality disparities.
Previous research shows that poor diet is a major contributor to cardiometabolic disease, and that mortality and diet quality disparities exist between Americans receiving SNAP assistance and those not participating in the program. The study is published online this month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The research team estimated that a national 10 percent price reduction on four healthy food groups, specifically fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, could prevent 19,600 deaths annually from cardiometabolic disease with approximately equal percentage reductions in each group: SNAP-participants, SNAP-eligible non-participants, and SNAP-ineligible non-participants.
Combining this subsidy with a national 10 percent tax on unhealthy foods, specifically sugary-sweetened beverages and processed meats, would prevent an estimated 33,700 deaths annually, with the greatest percent reductions in SNAP-participants.