266226 Policy considerations for improving United State Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 9:04 AM - 9:21 AM

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, PhD, RD , School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Christopher Wharton, PhD , School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Karen Sell, MS , Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Phoenix, AZ
Will Humble, MPH , Director, Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, AZ
INTRODUCTION: SNAP served over 45 million individuals each month in 2011 and is the largest federal food assistance program. In recent years, several states have considered policy changes to SNAP that promote health and minimize cost of implementation. Many of these ideas, however, raise ethical, logistical, cost and administrative-burden-related issues. METHOD: The Arizona Department of Health Services partnered with researchers at Arizona State University to develop an evidence-based policy paper to educate stakeholders about the role SNAP can play in reducing the burden of obesity. In developing evidence-based recommendations, the authors' intent was to keep a focus on alleviating hunger and improving nutritional health of low-income populations. Recommendations were based on reviews of state proposals for SNAP policy changes, as well as research on food choices, their impact on health, and the role of the food environment in low-income communities. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The white paper made four major policy recommendations: Improving Access to Healthy Foods; Incentivizing the Purchase of Healthy Foods; Restricting Options for the Purchase of Unhealthy Foods; and Including Public Health Approaches to Expand SNAP-Ed Outreach. Further, recommendations were organized based on the strength of available evidence for their potential impact as well as political and implementation feasibility. Possible objections against recommendations were anticipated and countered with evidence-based arguments in each case. This presentation will focus on the motivations for writing this paper, the process of developing recommendations, and strategies used for dissemination of the paper for educating stakeholders in different fields.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate and assess the feasibility of four major policy recommendations for changing the SNAP program to reduce the burden of overweight and obesity among program participants.

Keywords: Food Security, Federal Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI on the project and the first author on the white paper on which this presentation is based.
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.