203746 Effect of Food Stamp Participation On Obesity

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:10 PM

Euna Han, PhD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Lisa Powell, PhD , Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
This study explores the effect of Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation on body mass index (BMI) for individuals with high school or less education. We improve the previous literature by estimating a quantile regression model of the linear measure of BMI to capture a potential change in the dispersion of conditional body mass following the FSP participation. Propensity score matching method is used to control for the potential selection into the FSP participation. Study results indicate that OLS estimator of the FSP participation for women is overestimated below the median but underestimated above the median of the conditional distribution of BMI. Specifically, the effect of the FSP participation for women is not statistically significant at the 10th quantile, but is associated with a 0.8 unit increase of BMI at the 25th quantile. The magnitude of the statistically significant effect of the FSP becomes more than doubled at the 75th and the 90th quanitles. For men, no statistically significant effect of FSP participation is found regardless of estimation models. Adding the propensity score barely changes the estimated results for both genders, which may imply a minimal selection into FSP.

The study results suggest that a nutrition education program is needed for the FSP participants, particulary targeting vulnerable people in their body mass to reduce the ironically adverse effect of the FSP on body weight.

Learning Objectives:
Describe research findings on the relationship between the Food Stamp program and participants' body mass

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done many researches on the economics of obesity and received my PhD degree from Health Policy and Management at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.