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Study shows food stamp ban could curb obesity

By Olivia Caridi, ocaridi@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 09 2014 05:14:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 09 2014 07:45:37 PM CDT

Should food stamps be used for sugary drinks? A new study from Stanford University supports the ban of soda to combat obesity and diabetes rates in children and adults.

Should food stamps be used for sugary drinks? A new study from Stanford University supports the ban of soda to combat obesity and diabetes rates in children and adults.

We posed the question on our Facebook page and got hundreds of comments within the past 24 hours.

Beth Meadows says, ""Give it a rest. It's wrong to try and dictate what food someone buys with the EBT card.  It's always something having to be an issue if it's a person getting assistance. Leave it be.

On the other hand, Vanessa Copeland Waites says, "I have always thought sodas and other junk foods should not be bought with food stamps. They are not necessities."

Sugary drinks taste good, but are they worth the side effects?

Carol Carter ,a dietitian from the Wellmont Health System's Diabetes Treatment Center, says, "This is 17 lollipops, and this represents the amount of sugar that's in one 20-oz. drink."

The study by Stanford University shows that banning people that get government assistance from sugary drinks could change obesity and diabetes rates among the poor - 141 thousand less kids with weight problems and 240 thousand less adults with diabetes.

Carter says there is a link between obesity and drinking sodas. "You're consuming extra calories without decreasing the number of eaten calories you have. so you're drinking calories and you're eating calories," she says.

Studies over the years show that higher rates of obesity and diabetes are found among food stamp users than the rest of the population.

A 2012 study shows that over $2 billion each year in food stamps is used to purchase sugary drinks

The Stanford study estimates the obesity rate among food stamp users would go down by 2.4 percent among the 46 million people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - or SNAP.

But it's enough for Tennessee Congressman Phil Roe to take notice. Last year, Roe proposed a bill requiring food stamp recipients to purchase healthy foods like the one's offered by the Women, Infants, and Children Program.

He said in a statement, "If these guidelines are good and healthy enough for WIC, then SNAP recipients also benefit from adhering to the same standards."

The bill has yet to be considered, and there is no proposed law in Congress that includes the results of the study.