Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children

Cindy W. Leung, Susan J. Blumenthal, Elena E. Hoffnagle, Helen H. Jensen, Susan B. Foerster, Marion Nestle, Lilian W Y Cheung, Dariush Mozaffarian, Walter C. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if obesity and dietary quality in low-income children differed by participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. METHODS: The study population included 5193 children aged 4 to 19 with household incomes ≤130% of the federal poverty level from the 1999-2008 NHANES. Diet was measured by using 24-hour recalls. RESULTS: Among low-income US children, 28% resided in households currently receiving SNAP benefits. After adjusting for sociodemographic differences, SNAP participation was not associated with a higher rate of childhood obesity (odds ratio = 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-1.74). Both SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants were below national recommendations for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and potassium, while exceeding recommended limits for processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, saturated fat, and sodium. Zero percent of low-income children met at least 7 of 10 dietary recommendations. After multivariate adjustment, compared with nonparticipants, SNAP participants consumed 43% more sugar-sweetened beverages (95% CI: 8%-89%), 47% more high-fat dairy (95% CI: 7%, 101%), and 44% more processed meats (95% CI: 9%-91%), but 19% fewer nuts, seeds, and legumes (95% CI: -35% to 0%). In part due to these differences, intakes of calcium, iron, and folate were significantly higher among SNAP participants. Significant differences by SNAP participation were not evident in total energy, macronutrients, Healthy Eating Index 2005 scores, or Alternate Healthy Eating Index scores. CONCLUSIONS: The diets of low-income children are far from meeting national dietary recommendations. Policy changes should be considered to restructure SNAP to improve children's health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-472
Number of pages10
JournalPediatrics
Volume131
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

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Food Assistance
Pediatric Obesity
Confidence Intervals
Beverages
Meat
Fats
Diet
Social Adjustment
Food
Stamp
Obesity
Participation
Nuts
Nutrition
Nutrition Surveys
Poverty
Folic Acid
Fabaceae
Vegetables
Income

Keywords

  • Children
  • Diet quality
  • Food Stamps
  • Nutrition
  • Supplemental nutrition assistance program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Leung, C. W., Blumenthal, S. J., Hoffnagle, E. E., Jensen, H. H., Foerster, S. B., Nestle, M., ... Willett, W. C. (2013). Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children. Pediatrics, 131(3), 463-472. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-0889

Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children. / Leung, Cindy W.; Blumenthal, Susan J.; Hoffnagle, Elena E.; Jensen, Helen H.; Foerster, Susan B.; Nestle, Marion; Cheung, Lilian W Y; Mozaffarian, Dariush; Willett, Walter C.

In: Pediatrics, Vol. 131, No. 3, 03.2013, p. 463-472.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Leung, CW, Blumenthal, SJ, Hoffnagle, EE, Jensen, HH, Foerster, SB, Nestle, M, Cheung, LWY, Mozaffarian, D & Willett, WC 2013, 'Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children', Pediatrics, vol. 131, no. 3, pp. 463-472. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-0889
Leung CW, Blumenthal SJ, Hoffnagle EE, Jensen HH, Foerster SB, Nestle M et al. Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children. Pediatrics. 2013 Mar;131(3):463-472. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-0889
Leung, Cindy W. ; Blumenthal, Susan J. ; Hoffnagle, Elena E. ; Jensen, Helen H. ; Foerster, Susan B. ; Nestle, Marion ; Cheung, Lilian W Y ; Mozaffarian, Dariush ; Willett, Walter C. / Associations of food stamp participation with dietary quality and obesity in children. In: Pediatrics. 2013 ; Vol. 131, No. 3. pp. 463-472.
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abstract = "OBJECTIVE: To determine if obesity and dietary quality in low-income children differed by participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. METHODS: The study population included 5193 children aged 4 to 19 with household incomes ≤130{\%} of the federal poverty level from the 1999-2008 NHANES. Diet was measured by using 24-hour recalls. RESULTS: Among low-income US children, 28{\%} resided in households currently receiving SNAP benefits. After adjusting for sociodemographic differences, SNAP participation was not associated with a higher rate of childhood obesity (odds ratio = 1.11, 95{\%} confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-1.74). Both SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants were below national recommendations for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and potassium, while exceeding recommended limits for processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, saturated fat, and sodium. Zero percent of low-income children met at least 7 of 10 dietary recommendations. After multivariate adjustment, compared with nonparticipants, SNAP participants consumed 43{\%} more sugar-sweetened beverages (95{\%} CI: 8{\%}-89{\%}), 47{\%} more high-fat dairy (95{\%} CI: 7{\%}, 101{\%}), and 44{\%} more processed meats (95{\%} CI: 9{\%}-91{\%}), but 19{\%} fewer nuts, seeds, and legumes (95{\%} CI: -35{\%} to 0{\%}). In part due to these differences, intakes of calcium, iron, and folate were significantly higher among SNAP participants. Significant differences by SNAP participation were not evident in total energy, macronutrients, Healthy Eating Index 2005 scores, or Alternate Healthy Eating Index scores. CONCLUSIONS: The diets of low-income children are far from meeting national dietary recommendations. Policy changes should be considered to restructure SNAP to improve children's health.",
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AB - OBJECTIVE: To determine if obesity and dietary quality in low-income children differed by participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. METHODS: The study population included 5193 children aged 4 to 19 with household incomes ≤130% of the federal poverty level from the 1999-2008 NHANES. Diet was measured by using 24-hour recalls. RESULTS: Among low-income US children, 28% resided in households currently receiving SNAP benefits. After adjusting for sociodemographic differences, SNAP participation was not associated with a higher rate of childhood obesity (odds ratio = 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-1.74). Both SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants were below national recommendations for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and potassium, while exceeding recommended limits for processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, saturated fat, and sodium. Zero percent of low-income children met at least 7 of 10 dietary recommendations. After multivariate adjustment, compared with nonparticipants, SNAP participants consumed 43% more sugar-sweetened beverages (95% CI: 8%-89%), 47% more high-fat dairy (95% CI: 7%, 101%), and 44% more processed meats (95% CI: 9%-91%), but 19% fewer nuts, seeds, and legumes (95% CI: -35% to 0%). In part due to these differences, intakes of calcium, iron, and folate were significantly higher among SNAP participants. Significant differences by SNAP participation were not evident in total energy, macronutrients, Healthy Eating Index 2005 scores, or Alternate Healthy Eating Index scores. CONCLUSIONS: The diets of low-income children are far from meeting national dietary recommendations. Policy changes should be considered to restructure SNAP to improve children's health.

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