The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): History, politics, and public health implications

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This commentary introduces a special section of AJPH on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the US government’s largest antihunger program and third-largest antipoverty program. SNAP demonstrably lifts adults, children, and families out of poverty, thereby constituting a vital component of this nation’s public health safety net. Despite its well-documented benefits, SNAP is under political and budgetary siege, mainly from congressional representatives and lobbying groups opposed to a federal role in welfare. In part, SNAP is protected from total annihilation by its unusual authorizing legislation—the Farm Bill. This commentary provides a brief overview of the political history of SNAP and its Farm Bill location as background to the deeper analyses provided in this series of articles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1631-1635
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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