The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity

Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance, Working Papers 01/2010;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT Evidence relating unemployment to health is found at every level of social science analysis from national population rates to individual psychophysiological stress response. At the population level of analysis, increase in the unemployment rate indicates recession and/or structural economic decline. At the individual level, unemployment is interpreted as a stressful life event. In both cases, inverse associations are found between measures of unemployment and indicators of health. We identify social science literatures associating health indicators with each of the following: economic growth, socioeconomic status, sociocultural change, economic instability, the status of being unemployed, social stress and work stress. Outstanding research issues include the requirements to identify and measure the effects of conditional factors and control variables in multivariate analysis and to examine a broader range of both severity of unemployment and severity of health outcomes. A research agenda proposes studies at the macro, meso and micro levels of analysis. We urge such research for its potential contribution both to analytic social science and to economic and social policy.

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    ABSTRACT: We used a principal-agent framework to examine the feasibility of two proposed modifications to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with the goal of encouraging healthier food choices among program participants. Specifically, we analyzed two types of contract: a restricted contract and an incentive contract. The restricted contract did not allow the purchase of unhealthy foods with program benefits, but compensated participants by increasing total benefits. The incentive contract provided increased benefits that varied according to the percentage of healthy foods purchased with program benefits. The theoretical results revealed the mechanisms for the two alternative contracts, the conditions under which each would be effective, and the key empirical questions to be examined for future policy analysis.
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate participation patterns in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) among low-income children from kindergarten to fifth grade and to examine the ways in which participation influences sex differences in the trajectories of body mass index (BMI) through the eighth grade. Longitudinal, secondary data analysis. Sample of low-income US children who entered kindergarten in 1998. Girls (n = 574) and boys (n = 566) from low-income families who participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort. Participation in the NSLP. Temporary and persistent patterns of NSLP participation, and age-specific and sex-specific BMI raw scores calculated at 5 data points. Among the low-income children who attended schools that participated in the NSLP, both the children who persistently participated in the program and those who temporarily participated in the program displayed similar socioeconomically disadvantaged factors. Nonlinear mixed models indicated a larger rate of change in BMI (ie, an increase) among low-income, participating girls than among low-income, nonparticipating girls; however, mean BMIs did not significantly differ between low-income girls who participated and those who did not participate. No significant differences were observed among low-income boys. Results suggest that participation in the NSLP is associated with rapid weight gain for low-income girls but not for low-income boys.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines the dynamic relationship between a household’s Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation and the extent to which children in the household are overweight or obese. In contrast to previous studies employing static models, our results suggest that FSP participation significantly affects the deviation of current body mass index (BMI) from the ideal level in older male children who are currently underweight and for older female children who are already overweight. For older male children, the effect is desirable; for older females, however, our findings indicate that FSP participation has an adverse effect on their health and may contribute to being overweight or obese.
    Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 01/2011; 36(1).


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