The Association Between Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Household Food Security Status




Rendon, Alexis
Hoff, Brandon
Thombs, Dennis


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Purpose: Food insecurity, or not having reliable access to nutritious food, is a problem that many U.S. families face today. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a monthly benefit to low-income individuals. Recent research has reported inconsistent findings about the effectiveness of SNAP in reducing food insecurity. This study examined the association between SNAP enrollment and household food security status. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2013-2014. Logistic regression was used to model food security status predicted by SNAP participation while adjusting for the effects of age, gender, race/ethnicity, country of birth, education level, federal poverty ratio, and body mass index. All analyses were conducted using SAS 9.4 with appropriate survey weighting procedures. Results: Hispanics [OR = 2.189, (95% CI: 1.212 - 3.954), p p p p p p Conclusion: The measured demographic characteristics were consistent with existing literature and with conventional expectations; however, the finding that SNAP participation was positively associated with food insecurity was unexpected and inconsistent with the literature. Some research has suggested that the once-per-month distribution schedule of SNAP allows participants to deplete their benefits by the middle of the month, providing for a cyclical pattern of relative food security during the first half of the month and relative food insecurity during the last half of the month. Longitudinal research should be conducted to further analyze the strengths and limitations of SNAP as a tool to reduce food insecurity in the U.S and compare its effectiveness to other nutrition assistance programs.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2018 School of Public Health & Public Health Student Government Association - 3rd Place Poster