A little extra purchasing power at the grocery seems to help promote better diets for people on public assistance.
Very few of us eat enough fruits and vegetables, and for the more than 47 million Americans who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, that number is a bit smaller still.
But what if healthy fruits and vegetables, like leafy greens or crisp apples, came with a financial incentive for SNAP participants? Would a tiny bit of extra spending power, just a little over $6 a month, be enough to compel shoppers to move from the snack aisle to the produce bin?
The answer turns out to be a modest yes, according to Parke Wilde, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. He spoke about recent research on this and other proposed SNAP program changes, which aim to promote healthy diets while still helping people get enough to eat, at the White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America on Jan. 27.