Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-29) 2 pp

September 2007

Can Food Stamps Do More To Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective

Food stamp recipients, like other Americans, struggle with nutrition problems associated with choice of foods, as well as amounts. This series of Economic Information Bulletins compiles evidence to help answer the question of whether the Food Stamp Program can do more to improve the food choices of participants. It examines the role of affordability and price of healthful foods in influencing food choices and the likely success of any policy targeted at changing food choices through food stamp bonuses or restrictions. It also examines other approaches to changing food choices, including nutrition education and potential strategies drawn from behavioral economics literature. Meaningful improvements in the diets of food stamp recipients will likely depend on a combination of many tactics. Measuring the effect of any policy change on food choices and health outcomes remains a challenge.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, food consumption, food prices, food expenditures, nutrition education, behavioral economics, food choices, diet, health, fruits and vegetables, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP

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Last updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007

For more information, contact: Joanne Guthrie, Margaret Andrews, Elizabeth Frazão, Ephraim Leibtag, Biing-Hwan Lin, Lisa Mancino, Mark Nord, Mark Prell, David Smallwood, Jay Variyam, and Michele Ver Ploeg