Of SNAP and soda

Food-stamp enrollment has no effect on children’s soda consumption

There is no evidence to suggest the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as food stamps—influences children’s consumption of sugary drinks, a study finds.

A report involving a sample group of 3,126 kids, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, compared SNAP beneficiaries and families not enrolled in the program, finding no significant difference in how much soda, fruit juice and milk children drank, according to Reuters Health. Though the federal food-assistance program has been touted by government officials to steer poor families toward more healthful eating habits, it appears to have little influence on the drinks children consume, for better or worse. The study comes in the midst of debate whether to ban the use of SNAP benefits for the purchase of sugary beverages, considered a key dietary factor in American’s skyrocketing obesity problem.

Banned SNAP products currently include tobacco, alcohol and other non-food items.