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July 04 , 2010

SNAP Matters

How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well-Being


In 1963, President Kennedy proposed making permanent a small pilot project called the Food Stamp Program (FSP). By 2013, the program's fiftieth year, more than one in seven Americans received benefits at a cost of nearly $80 billion. Renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, it currently faces sharp political pressure, but the social science research necessary to guide policy is still nascent.

In SNAP Matters, Judith Bartfeld, Craig Gundersen, Timothy M. Smeeding, and James P. Ziliak bring together top scholars to begin asking and answering the questions that matter. For example, what are the antipoverty effects of SNAP? Does SNAP cause obesity? Or does it improve nutrition and health more broadly? To what extent does SNAP work in tandem with other programs, such as school breakfast and lunch? Overall, the volume concludes that SNAP is highly responsive to macroeconomic pressures and is one of the most effective antipoverty programs in the safety net, but the volume also encourages policymakers, students, and researchers to continue examining this major pillar of social assistance in America.

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