Is the U.S. government contributing to an epidemic that they are trying to cure?

by vjkajoyce on November 7, 2016 - 10:01pm

Is the government contributing to an epidemic that they are trying to cure?

The U.S. government bankrolls a program called SNAP.

The SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) aka Food Stamps is a  federally  funded program that gives monies to poor people to buy food.

The goal of this program is to combat hunger in low income people. This is an admirable goal but what about its side effects?

Some of the side effects are that there is a propensity for people who receive these SNAP benefits to be obese.

The major yardstick used to measure obesity was BMI (Body Mass Index).This is a statistical yardstick that measures body fat. If your body fat is above a certain index then you are considered obese.

There is an excellent scholarly journal that helps to answer these questions. It is titled:

The Effects of Childhood SNAP Use and Neighborhood Conditions on Adult Body Mass Index the authors are T.P.Vartanian and was published in 2012 in the research journal Demography.

The authors try to ascertain these perplexing question.

The authors compare BMI and participation in the SNAP program. They touch on BMI and neighborhoods, neighborhood affluence, social disorganization and age.

According to the authors there is a  disproportionate number of individuals who are overweight or obese in the low income population has raised interest in the influence of both the neighborhood and the SNAP program.

The neighborhood is interesting because the authors say that most of these low income people are in “food deserts”.These are areas where there are no supermarkets where food is generally cheaper and more plentiful.

The authors found that these food deserts are exacerbated by poor transportations,little room to play and a preponderance of convenience stores which do not sell a plethora of healthy food.

The authors also state that even a program of having farmers markets in low income neighborhoods which sell unprocessed,fresh food that there was still an issue of obesity.The authors attributed that to habits are hard to break.

Social disorganization is touched upon in this article.The major theory of this phenomenon is that it leads to obesity is due to stress.People eat when they are nervous and high strung.This eating is usually high fat,high calories items. Is this nervousness because the of the area they live in.The author touch on this but remind us that this is too complex and issue.

Age is a vital statistic when doing this study because children are influenced by their parents food choices .However,children who are the SNAP program at least learn about nutritious foods through their school.

The authors think that their research their conclusion do not prove anything.

Is the SNAP program counterproductive? Is it worth spending all that money to have people full but unhealthy?

Is this program’s unintended consequences outweigh(pardon the pun) the benefits of the money spent?

How much should the government be involved in people’s lives?

Should we restrict what good can be purchased on the SNAP program?

Should we give incentive to buy healthier foods on the SNAP program?

Is the SNAP education program effective?

To reiterate the authors don't have the answers either.They state that is is too complex an issue.

What do you think?


I found this post to have an intriguing title, since I consider myself to be somewhat of a conspiracy connoisseur, the idea of a government lying to its citizens peeked my interest. Although this title caught my attention, I do not think it rightfully represents the article. The article shows a perhaps suspicious connection between obesity and food stamps, but this does not really relate to the government lying. However, I thought the findings of this study interesting, especially the 'food deserts', how can a neighborhood be expected to eat healthy on food stamps when there are no healthy options? Also how children learn their eating habits from their parents but also get information on healthy habits at school, this reminded me of something we've covered in class. Racism is learned from parents (and media), and these days schools seem to be making more of an effort to encourage a more inclusive and diverse environment for the children it teaches. So, all in all, a catchy title that got the job done in reeling in readers but does not, in my opinion, represent the contents of the article, and an enlightening topic that opens the floor for discussion and further reading.

This very interesting article that addresses not only a major issue in america but also how the U.S government is possibly contributing to this problem. Child obesity and mass hunger are to major issues and to think that they could be related is sad to think about. The U.S solution to the issue of hunger has been the SNAP program. This study looks at the possible side effects of this program for instance obesity, and poor health choices. I hold my health and fitness near and deer to me, and I often feel that americas obesity rates and lack of nutrition awareness is over looked in our modern society. I was fortunate enough to live in a community that makes nutrition classes mandatory in high school. This outlook targeting low income neighborhood , there access to SNAP and is quite an interesting and more study needs to be done. Im very interested to see further studies done and appreciate the fellow interest in the subject.

I never really thought or talked about this issue, so reading this post definitely opened my mind to an important issue going on that needs to be discussed. Child obesity is a big problem in our country and to think that the government could be part of the problem is very interesting. I definitely now want to learn more about this issue and studies that are being done. I don't think the government can expect families to have a healthy living off food stamps, its definitely an issue that needs to be addressed more. Thank you for introducing this topic to me!

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