Food insecurity linked to obesity

Dec. 20, 2006 at 9:25 AM
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BOSTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- A report proposes changes that would allow the U.S. Food Stamp program to continue reducing nutrition-related health disparities while addressing obesity.

The Food Stamp program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC program, have made significant strides toward eliminating nutrition-related health disparities between low-income and higher-income groups.

Eileen Kennedy, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and Tufts colleagues authored a report that said an expert panel investigating the potential link between federal nutrition programs and obesity concluded that the "available research on the Food Stamp program and WIC did not indicate that the programs were causing obesity."

In fact, the report said "data indicate that from 1976 to 2002, the probability of a woman being overweight grew the least among food stamp recipients."

"Many low-income households face what is known as the 'double burden of disease,' meaning that those who are food-insecure are often overweight or obese," said Kennedy. "This creates an opportunity for federally-funded nutrition programs to restructure goals to address obesity, which is now a more prevalent problem for low-income households than under-nutrition."

The report is available from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.

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