Project: An Examination of the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity
Award Year: 2004
Amount of award, fiscal 2004: $120,000.00
Institution: Middle Tennessee State University
Principal Investigator: Charles Baum
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Poverty historically has been associated with undernutrition. Obesity now has replaced undernutrition as the urgent nutrition-related public health concern among populations targeted by USDA's food assistance programs. The Food Stamp Program seeks to provide adequate nutrition to low-income households by providing participants with electronic benefits redeemable for food. The Food Stamp Program potentially increases food consumption by lowering the price of food and increasing food-purchasing power. If caloric intake increases with consumption, then Food Stamp Program participants are more likely to gain weight and become obese. Some research during the last couple of decades has found that diet quality improves as household income rises, while obesity declines. Thus, the net effect of the Food Stamp Program on obesity may be positive or negative. This study will examine the causal relationship between Food Stamp Program participation and the prevalence of obesity by applying advanced econometric techniques to the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NSLY). Special attention will be given to control for the potential bias from unobserved heterogeneity.
Topic: Obesity, SNAP/Food Stamp Program
Baum, C. “The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity,” Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 77, No. 3, January 2011.
Baum, C. The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity, Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 34, USDA, ERS, September 2007.