Food Stamps Make You Fatter

Limited budget may promote unhealthy choices
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2009 2:40 PM CDT
Electronic benefit transfer tokens are seen at the Schenectady Farmers Market in Schenectady, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama might like to think that the down-and-out are using food stamps to buy arugala at Whole Foods, but as Science Daily reports, people tend to gain weight on food stamps. The average benefit of $81 a month doesn't go a long way toward nutritious foods, researchers suggest in a study that tracked participants for 14 years and found that the Body Mass Index of an average recipient was 1.15 points higher than those not enrolled.

“I think it would be very difficult for a shopper to regularly buy healthy, nutritious food on that budget,” says one. The average BMI, however, is almost totally based on weight gain among women, whose BMI is 1.24 points higher when on food stamps—an average weight increase of 5.8 lbs. Furthermore, the BMI increase was larger the longer people stayed on the program.