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Should you be allowed to buy soda with food stamps?

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WASHINGTON – Banning soda and other sugary drinks from food stamps would lead to significant drops in obesity and diabetes rates among the poor, according to a new study.

It would prevent at least 141,000 kids from getting fat and another 240,000 adults from developing Type 2 diabetes, the kind that usually stems from obesity, according to Stanford University medical researchers in a study published in the June issue of the academic journal Health Affairs.

“It’s as big an impact as I’ve seen,” said lead researcher Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

Basu started the study to explore criticism that the federal food stamp program, officially called Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), subsidizes the purchase of sugary drinks that offer no nutritional value.

Over the years, several studies have shown that poor families on food stamps tend to have much higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the rest of the population.

“There are complaints that (taxpayers) are getting charged twice, once for the SNAP program and then again for the Medicaid and Medicare costs when people get diseases,” Basu said.

Food stamps is big business for the beverage industry. A separate 2012 study found more than $2 billion in food stamps each year goes to sales of sugary drinks, according to Yale University researchers. That amounted to 58% of beverages purchased on food stamps.

Overall, obesity rates among food stamps users would go down by 2.4% over 10 years, according to the study. That might not seem like much for the 46.1 million people who depend on the safety-net program.

However, in the world of health policy, that’s a lot, said Basu.

Christopher Gindlesperger, spokesman for the American Beverage Association said “obesity is a complex health condition.” He called the obesity reduction rates in the study “insignificant.”

“Targeting struggling families who rely on SNAP’s vital safety net will not make America healthier or reduce government spending,” Gindlesperger said.

Efforts to ban sugary drinks from food stamps haven’t made much progress. In 2011, New York City’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to get permission to ban food stamp purchases of soda in that city. The U.S. Department of Agriculture told him no, calling the effort “too large and complex.”

Last year, Bloomberg and 17 other mayors wrote to Congress last year, asking them to ban sugary drinks from food stamps.

Last year, Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican and doctor, proposed new limits on food stamps that would ban their use for junk food but that measure hasn’t been considered by a committee.


    • Melissa

      I went to the website you guys posted, http://www.foodstamp-magic.com and I got the ebook for unlocking my SNAP/foodstamps and how to use them to get a lot more free stuff.

      Who knew I could get fuel from my food stamps or use them to get a bank card and take a trip. y don’t they tell you about all this when you sign up for SNAP???????

  • Quills

    Food Stamps, welfare, TANF and all government assistant programs should be on limited basics just like collecting unemployment. Funny how a person can work on a job for 20 years get laid off and collect unemployment for a time limit. That laid off worker has to find a job before the unemployment checks run out. But a person never has to work and day in their life and collect all the government assistant , stamps, and whatever else they can suck out of the government. My thought is government assistants should be based on a time limit and if they limit is up they person seeking assistants should have to file for and extension just like a laid off worker has to do for employment checks.

    • TERESA


  • Zandreia

    Just because their on food stamps don’t mean its their fault. I just don’t buy junk food.

  • Noodles

    The amount of money that is given toward a family for food stamps does not really substantially cover the cost of “healthy foods”. The family wants to spread the food stamp money farther and by doing so, wind up buying the cheaper unhealthy varieties. Ramen anyone? If given the choice would you: want a full fridge to feed your family for a month with unhealthy choices; or only one week of healthy food that don’t last the month? …just saying

  • Pam McCall

    Noodles is right! Prices are higher and still rising, it doesn’t matter rather you’re paying with cash or food stamps, the end result is the same. Fresh Fruits, and produce are costly Meats are even more expensive And even staples are getting higher. Point is with prices the way they are and still rising its hard to eat healthy if you want to feed your family for a month. Unless the government wants us all to become vegetarians, there just isn’t anyway.

    • buzz

      AMEN! Put a limit on how much kids the trash can have! And a limit how long they can leech of the tax payers! If they are able to work get them to work! NO MORE WELFARE QUEENS!

  • manalishi

    Watching the plantation populace at Sams Club loading up on 50# of free ribeye and scrimp is enough to make any responsible taxpayer want to starve democrats as they are. So this Sow rides the cart because her fat nasty a** can’t hoid up her own weight and swipes a snap card to buy a years supply of cheetos and coke for her overweight democrat larvae. Parasites always kill their host in the end.

  • Tonya

    Quills I totally agree with you. Manalishi shut the PHUCK up. You sound stupid as he**. I know for a fact that Republicans are on food stamps too. You are probably one of them because men get food stamps as well. I forgot you’re not a man. You’re a whining biotch!!!!

  • Dmac

    bla bla bla, its not just soda that makes people obese, 80% of food in the grocery store is garbage. And also take the food stamps away and see what happens to the economy, All that money gets invested in economy, I would bet that 1/3 of all grocery stores revenue is food stamps, take that away and the trickle down effect on economy would be terrible

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