Research Research and Professional Briefs| Volume 112, ISSUE 8, P1241-1246, August 2012

Effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Frequency of Beverage Consumption among Youth in the United States


      As the largest federal food assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has potential to improve food choices among low-income populations. The program's impact on youth is important because they are represented in more than half of all SNAP households. This study estimates the impact of participation in SNAP, also known as the Food Stamp Program, on the frequency of soft drink, 100% fruit juice, and milk consumption among youth (ages 11 through 14) in the United States. A cohort of 3,126 youth from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey who were surveyed in 2004 (5th grade) and 2007 (8th grade) were used for the analysis. Multivariate linear regression with individual fixed effects was conducted to estimate the effect of SNAP participation on the frequency of consumption of each beverage type in the preceding week. The fixed effects controlled for factors specific to the youth, such as sex, race/ethnicity, and time-invariant bias in reporting SNAP participation or beverage consumption. Overall participation in SNAP increased from 19.5% to 20.3% between 2004 and 2007, with 14.4% reporting a different participation status in 2007 as compared with 2004. SNAP participation was not found to be predictive of the frequency of soft drink, 100% fruit juice, or milk consumption among youth. In its current state, SNAP may serve to replace lost income for qualifying households, but not alter their food and beverage choices. Interventions that support access to and incentivize the consumption of more healthful foods and beverages may be successful in improving the nutritional quality of intake.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Food and Nutrition Service Monthly Program Data.
        (Updated August 1, 2011. Accessed August 15, 2011)
        • Darmon N.
        • Drewnowski A.
        Does social class predict diet quality?.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87: 1107-1117
        • Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation
        Making America Stronger: A Profile of the Food Stamp Program.
        USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VASeptember 2005 (Accessed January 17, 2011)
        • Fox M.K.
        • Hamilton W.
        • Lin B.
        Effects of Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs on Nutrition and Health: Volume 3 Literature Review.
        USDA Economic Research Service, Washington, DCOctober 2004 (Accessed August 15, 2011)
        • Gleason P.
        • Rangarajan A.
        • Olson C.
        Dietary intake and dietary attitudes among food stamp participants and other low-income individuals.
        USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Alexandria, VASeptember 2000 (Accessed August 15, 2011)
        • Poikolainen A.
        Characteristics of Food Stamp Households: Fiscal Year 2004.
        USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation, Alexandria, VASeptember 2005 (Accessed August 15, 2011)
        • Rank M.R.
        • Hirshl T.A.
        Estimating the risk of food stamp use and impoverishment during childhood.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009; 163: 994-999
        • Nielsen S.J.
        • Popkin B.M.
        Changes in beverage intake between 1977 and 2001.
        Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27: 205-210
        • French S.A.
        • Lin B.H.
        • Guthrie J.F.
        National trends in soft drink consumption among children and adolescents age 6 to 17 years: Prevalence, amounts, and sources, 1977/1978 to 1994/1998.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2003; 103: 1326-1331
        • Wang Y.C.
        • Bleich S.N.
        • Gortmaker S.L.
        Increasing caloric contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices among US children and adolescents, 1988-2004.
        Pediatrics. 2008; 121: e1604-e1614
        • Rampersaud G.C.
        • Bailey L.B.
        • Kauwell G.P.
        National survey beverage consumption data for children and adolescents indicate the need to encourage a shift toward more nutritive beverages.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2003; 103: 97-100
        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
        Beverage consumption among high school students—United States, 2010.
        MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011; 60: 778-780
        • Harnack L.
        • Stang J.
        • Story M.
        Soft drink consumption among US children and adolescents.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1999; 99: 436-441
        • Reedy J.
        • Krebs-Smith S.
        Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2010; 110: 1477-1484
        • Malik V.S.
        • Schulze M.B.
        • Hu F.B.
        Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: A systematic review.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 84: 274-288
        • Forshee R.A.
        • Anderson P.A.
        • Storey M.L.
        Sugar-sweetened beverages and body mass index in children and adolescents: A meta-analysis.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 87: 1662-1671
        • Laska M.N.
        • Murray D.M.
        • Lytle L.A.
        • Harnack L.J.
        Longitudinal associations between key dietary behaviors and weight gain over time: Transitions through the adolescent years.
        Obesity. 2011; 20: 118-125
        • Ogden C.L.
        • Kit B.K.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Park S.
        Consumption of sugar drinks in the United States, 2005-2008.
        National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD2011 (Accessed December 27, 2011)
      2. New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), Request for waiver to modify allowable purchases under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
        (Accessed January 24, 2011)
        • Barnhill A.
        Impact and ethics of excluding sweetened beverages from the SNAP program.
        Am J Public Health. 2011; 101: 2037-2043
        • Gidding S.
        • Dennison B.
        • et al.
        • American Heart Association
        Dietary recommendations for children and adolescents: A guide for practitioners.
        Pediatrics. 2006; 117: 544-559
        • Committee on Nutrition
        American Academy of Pediatrics: The use and misuse of fruit juice in pediatrics.
        Pediatrics. 2001; 107: 1210-1213
        • Tourangeau K.
        • Nord C.
        • Lê T.
        • Sorongon A.G.
        • Najarian M.
        Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K): Combined User's Manual for the ECLS-K Eighth-Grade and K–8 Full Sample Data Files and Electronic Codebooks (NCES 2009–004).
        National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, US Department of Education, Washington, DCSeptember 16, 2010 (Accessed August 15, 2011)
        • Brener N.D.
        • Collins J.L.
        • Kann L.
        • Warren C.W.
        • Williams B.I.
        Reliability of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Questionnaire.
        Am J Epidemiol. 1995; 141: 575-580
        • Bollinger C.
        • David M.H.
        Modeling discrete choice with response error: Food stamp participation.
        J Am Stat Assoc. 1997; 92: 827-835
        • Dennisuk L.A.
        • Coutinho A.J.
        • Suratkar S.
        • et al.
        Food expenditures and food purchasing among low-income, urban, African-American youth.
        Am J Prev Med. 2011; 40: 625-628
        • Shenkin J.D.
        • Jacobson M.
        Using the food stamp program and other methods to promote healthy diets for low-income consumers.
        Am J Public Health. 2010; 100: 1562-1564


      M. M. Fernandes is a senior analyst, Abt Associates Inc, Cambridge, MA.