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Title: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation did not help low income Hispanic women in Texas meet the dietary guidelines

Author
item Hilmers, Angela - Johns Hopkins School Of Public Health
item Chen, Tzu - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Dave, Jayna - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Cullen, Karen - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Preventive Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/26/2014
Publication Date: 5/1/2014
Citation: Hilmers, A., Chen, T.A., Dave, J.M., Thompson, D.J., Cullen, K.W. 2014. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation did not help low income Hispanic women in Texas meet the dietary guidelines. Preventive Medicine. 62:44-48.

Interpretive Summary: Low-income Hispanic women have a greater risk for poor diets and obesity. We examined whether receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits improved dietary intake among Hispanic women aged 26-44 years living in Texas. Most women did not meet recommended dietary guidelines. Only 27% of low-income eligible women received SNAP benefits, but SNAP participants ate more sugar, desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages than Hispanic women who did not receive SNAP benefits. All women had high sodium and low dairy consumption. Nutrition education for SNAP participants is needed, and perhaps policies limiting the purchase of sugar-sweetened beverages, high sodium, and high sugar processed foods by SNAP participants should be considered.

Technical Abstract: Low-income Hispanic women are at a greater risk for dietary deficiencies and obesity. We assessed the association between Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation and dietary intake among 661 Hispanic women aged 26–44 years living in Texas. Cross-sectional data was collected using standard methods. ANOVA and logistic regression examined the influence of SNAP on diet after adjusting for household characteristics, body mass index, and food security status. Most women did not meet recommended dietary guidelines. SNAP participants consumed higher amounts of total sugars, sweets–desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages than SNAP nonparticipants. High sodium intakes and low dairy consumption were observed in both groups. Only 27% of low-income eligible women received SNAP benefits. Low-income Hispanic women participating in SNAP reported less healthful dietary patterns than nonparticipants. This may contribute to the increased obesity prevalence and related comorbidities observed in this population. SNAP should play an important role in enhancing the overall dietary quality of low-income households. Policy initiatives such as limiting the purchase of sugar-sweetened beverages and education to enable women to reduce consumption of high sodium processed foods deserve consideration as means to improve the dietary quality of SNAP participants. Effective measures are needed to increase SNAP participation rates among Hispanics.