The Impact of Long Term Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Child Obesity

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010

Date Written: July 19, 2010

Abstract

In March of 2009 participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reached an all time high of 40.2 million persons. A significant body of research has emerged suggesting that participation in the SNAP increases the probability of being obese for adult women, and has little effect on obesity for adult men; however the evidence on the effect of SNAP participation on child obesity is much more tenuous. This paper examines the effect of long-term SNAP participation on the Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile, and probability of being overweight or obese for children ages 5 through 18 using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Children and Young Adults, and an instrumental variables identification strategy that exploits exogenous variation in state-level program parameters, as well as state and federal expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). SNAP participation is found to significantly reduce BMI percentile, and the probability of being overweight or obese, for both boys and girls ages 5 through 11 and boys ages 12 through 18. For girls ages 12 through 18, SNAP participation appears to have no significant effect on their BMI percentile or their probability of being overweight or obese.

Keywords: Child obesity, Food Stamps, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, BMI

JEL Classification: I1,I3, H3

Suggested Citation

Schmeiser, Maximilian D., The Impact of Long Term Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Child Obesity (July 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1645525 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1645525

Maximilian D. Schmeiser (Contact Author)

Amazon Lending ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

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