USDA Releases Study on Hurdles to Healthy Eating on SNAP

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Provides Updates on Efforts to Improve Access to Nutritious Foods

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly nine out of 10 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants face barriers in providing their household with a healthy diet throughout the month, based on a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study released this week.

The study, Barriers that Constrain the Adequacy of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Allotments, conducted in 2018, finds that 88% of participants report encountering some type of hurdle to a healthy diet. The most common, reported by 61% of SNAP participants, is the cost of healthy foods.

Participants who reported struggling to afford nutritious foods were more than twice as likely to experience food insecurity. Other barriers range from a lack of time to prepare meals from scratch (30%) to the need for transportation to the grocery store (19%) to no storage for fresh or cooked foods (14%).

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“No one in America should have to worry about whether they can put healthy food on the table for themselves or their children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s report makes clear we still have work to do to ensure all Americans not only have food to eat, but access to nutritious foods.”

“SNAP benefits are a nutrition lifeline for millions of Americans,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “So it’s vital that the program helps enable participants to achieve a healthy diet amidst the real world challenges they face. The study findings… indicate that we’re not yet there.”

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