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Few Changes in Food Security and Dietary Intake From Short-term Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Among Low-income Massachusetts Adults

  • Author Footnotes
    † At the time of this study, Dr C. W. Leung was a doctoral candidate in Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
    Cindy W. Leung
    Correspondence
    Address for correspondence: Cindy W. Leung, ScD, MPH, Center for Health and Community, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St #465, San Francisco, CA 94118; Phone: (415) 781-9640; Fax: (415) 502-1010
    Footnotes
    † At the time of this study, Dr C. W. Leung was a doctoral candidate in Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
    Affiliations
    Center for Health and Community, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA
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  • Sarah Cluggish
    Affiliations
    Project Bread–The Walk for Hunger, East Boston, MA
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  • Eduardo Villamor
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
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  • Paul J. Catalano
    Affiliations
    Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
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  • Walter C. Willett
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Eric B. Rimm
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

    Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    † At the time of this study, Dr C. W. Leung was a doctoral candidate in Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Published:November 18, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2013.10.001

      Abstract

      Objective

      To examine whether short-term participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) affects food security and dietary quality among low-income adults recruited from a Massachusetts-wide emergency food hotline.

      Methods

      A 3-month, longitudinal study was conducted among 107 adults recruited at the time of SNAP application assistance. Outcomes included household food security (10-item US Department of Agriculture Food Security Survey Module), dietary intake (eg, grains, fruit) and diet quality (modified Alternate Healthy Eating Index). Data were analyzed using paired t tests and multivariable linear regression.

      Results

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation was not associated with improved household food security over 3 months (P = .25). Compared with non-participants, SNAP participants increased refined grain intake by 1.1 serving/d (P = .02), from baseline to follow-up. No associations were observed with other foods, nutrients, or dietary quality.

      Conclusion and Implications

      Policies that simultaneously improve household food security and dietary quality should be implemented to support the health of low-income Americans participating in this crucial program.

      Key Words

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