Fatty, high calorie foods are relatively inexpensive in the US, while fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, especially in cold weather states but even in agricultural centers. That’s one reason why lower income families often have unhealthy diets.
The SNAP program (aka food stamps) tries to encourage healthy eating on a budget through its SNAP-Ed Connection, but provides few incentives for the purchase of healthy foods or disincentives for the unhealthy stuff.
So I was pleased to see a Kaiser Health News article (When Food Stamps Pass As Tickets To Better Health) on a US Department of Agriculture pilot program called Mas Fresco, which provides funding to induce food stamp recipients to purchase fruits and vegetables.
In theory, the program will encourage healthier eating, which will lead to better health, a reduction in chronic disease, lower healthcare costs, higher productivity and income. It could reduce quality of life and economic disparities. There’s no guarantee that the program will achieve these results, but it strikes me as a good use of federal dollars to give it a try.
January 22, 2018