June 14, 2019
Michele Polacsek, Ph.D., M.H.S., professor in the Public Health program, together with colleagues, published an editorial in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health describing public opinions about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) policy options among U.S. adults.
According to Polacsek, public opinion is critical in policymaking. Yet prior to the study team's work, there had been no public surveys that have comprehensively assessed SNAP policy options, including the timing of SNAP benefit distributions and other policies recently considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In their study “Support for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Policy Alternatives Among US Adults, 2018, the authors found that despite recent political polarization, bipartisan support is strong for sugary drink restrictions, targeted fruits and vegetables benefits, and additional benefits that guarantee SNAP participants can afford a healthy diet.
The study found SNAP participants, and the public overall, strongly favor changes to SNAP that would incentivize healthy purchases and modify the frequency with which participants receive their benefits each month. Such changes could improve the nutritional impact of the program and should be considered in the development of future SNAP policy.
Polacsek and her colleagues collected their results from a national telephone survey asking participants about their support of a variety of SNAP policy modifications and related behaviors that have the potential to promote health among SNAP recipients.