Daily Health Headlines

Carrot-Stick Approach: A Way to Get Folks to Eat More Veggies, Fruits

👤by Steven Reinberg 0 comments 🕔Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

MONDAY, Sept. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Giving low-income Americans discounts on fruits and vegetables while disallowing sugar-sweetened soda and treat purchases may improve their diets, a new study suggests.

About one in seven people in the United States participates in the government-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Because SNAP benefits can't be altered without a change in the law that governs it, the researchers tested a possible change in benefits with low-income people who might be eligible for the program.

"There is a great deal of interest in reshaping SNAP so that it better meets its objective to help families buy the food they need for good health. Prohibitions and incentives are among the program changes being discussed by policymakers," said study author Lisa Harnack. She's director of the nutrition coordinating center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The researchers found that people consumed fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, sweet baked goods and candies, and more fruit when they were enrolled in a food benefit program that prohibited the purchase of sugary foods and gave a 30 percent discount on fruits and vegetables.

"The overall nutritional quality of the diet also improved," Harnack said.

Dr. David Katz is director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn., and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. "This study should certainly influence the SNAP program," he said.

"There is no reason for the approach to be confined there, however. The same combination can be leveraged by employers and insurers to motivate healthier shifts in food selection," said Katz, who was not involved with the study.

Over a 12-week study period, Harnack and her colleagues gave nearly 300 lower-income participants debit cards with an amount of food benefits similar to what they would get from SNAP. For example, benefits were $152 monthly for one person, $277 a month for two people, and $401 for three people in a household.

The participants were divided into four groups. The first group was given a 30 percent discount on fruits and vegetables; the second group had a restriction on buying sugary drinks and desserts; the third group had both the discount and the restriction; and the fourth group had no discount or restriction.

The report was published online Sept. 19 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"There has been a lot of disagreement about whether or not we should mess with SNAP, because it works well and there's a lot of concern that making changes has the potential of making it worse," said Marlene Schwartz. She's director of the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

In addition, some politicians may be calling for changes in SNAP not to benefit people, but to make the program smaller, suggested Schwartz, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

Improving diet, even at an additional cost, might help reduce health care costs down the road, she said.

"Given the expense of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it makes sense that investing in people's nutrition will pay off in the long term," Schwartz said.

Schwartz added that she thinks it's OK for the government to tell people who receive SNAP benefits how those benefits can be used, especially because all other federal food programs have restrictions.

"When the federal government puts money into feeding a particular group of Americans, they want to make sure that the program is improving people's diet," Schwartz said.

Article Credits / Source

Steven Reinberg / HealthDay

Steven Reinberg wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Lisa Harnack, Dr.P.H., professor and director, nutrition coordinating center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., director, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Connecticut, Hartford; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Derby, Conn., and president, American College of Lifestyle Medicine; Sept. 19, 2016, JAMA Internal Medicine, online

View More Articles From Steven Reinberg 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Nutrition, Food, & Recipes Articles

Your Recipe for a Healthy, Delicious Holiday Season

Your Recipe for a Healthy, Delicious Holiday Season0

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The holidays can become one big pig out, but experts say it's possible to maintain healthy eating habits while you celebrate. "It's important to not look at holiday events as if they are an ...

Exploding Some Turkey Myths

Exploding Some Turkey Myths0

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A nutrition expert is talking turkey to dispel some common myths about the focus of most Thanksgiving meals. The most-repeated myth is that eating turkey makes you sleepy. While it does contain ...

How to Prepare That Holiday Turkey Safely

How to Prepare That Holiday Turkey Safely0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The traditional turkey centerpiece on Thanksgiving tables may come out looking scrumptious, but cooks in the kitchen need to be concerned about preparing the bird safely to prevent the spread of foodborne ...

Choose the Healthy Foods Options This Holiday Season

Choose the Healthy Foods Options This Holiday Season0

SUNDAY, Nov. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Even the best intentions to make healthy food choices during the holidays can be derailed, the American Heart Association cautions. Eating a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and ...

Health Tip: Don't Overeat During the Holidays

Health Tip: Don't Overeat During the Holidays0

(HealthDay News) -- It's easy to eat large portions and indulgent dishes during holiday feasts. But you can still enjoy the holidays without stuffing yourself. The University of California Los Angeles offers these suggestions: Focus on ...

View More Nutrition, Food, & Recipes Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!