Feds May Use Food Stamps to Improve Nutrition

Food stamp and school lunch programs could be revamped to encourage nutrition
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 24, 2008 1:57 PM CST
In a Sept. 4, 2007, file photo Trevor Nouvel and Ali Parker go through the serving line in the cafeteria at Sharon Elementary School in Suwanee, Ga.    (AP Photo/John Bazemore/file)
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(Newser) – The Obama White House may move to revamp food aid so it encourages healthy eating, reports the Washington Post. One idea gaining favor: Double the value of food stamps if they're used to buy fruits and vegetables. While anti-hunger advocates have long objected to such government meddling, opposition is softening because of a growing body of evidence that links the seemingly opposite notions of hunger and obesity.

The problem is that people on food stamps understandably go for cheap food, but that food is often high in calories and low on nutritional value. Punishing people for such purchases is a no-go because many low-income neighborhoods don't have a full-service supermarket and produce aisle. The idea, instead, is to create incentives to buy wisely. Such programs are already in place at farmers markets in Connecticut, California, and Massachusetts.