Associations of Cooking With Dietary Intake and Obesity Among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participants.Am J Prev Med. 2017 Feb; 52(2S2):S151-S160.AJ
Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may help ease economic and time constraints of cooking, helping low-income households prepare healthier meals. Therefore, frequent cooking may be more strongly associated with improved dietary outcomes among SNAP recipients than among income-eligible non-recipients. Alternately, increased frequency of home-cooked meals among SNAP participants may be beneficial simply by replacing fast food intake. This study quantified the association between home cooking and fast food with diet intake and weight status among SNAP recipients.
In 2016, data from low-income adults aged 19-65 years from the National Health and Nutrition Survey 2007-2010 (N=2,578) were used to examine associations of daily home-cooked dinner and weekly fast food intake with diet intake, including calories from solid fat and added sugar and key food groups (sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, and vegetables), and prevalence of overweight/obesity. Differences in these associations for SNAP recipients versus income-eligible non-recipients were analyzed, as well as whether associations were attenuated when controlling for fast food intake.
Daily home-cooked dinners were associated with small improvements in dietary intake for SNAP recipients but not for non-recipients, including lower sugar-sweetened beverage intake (-54 kcal/day), and reduced prevalence of overweight/obesity (-6%) (p<0.05). However, these associations were attenuated after controlling for fast food intake. Consuming at least one fast food meal/week was associated with 9.3% and 11.6% higher overweight/obesity prevalence among SNAP recipients and non-recipients, respectively (p<0.05).
Strategies to improve dietary intake among SNAP recipients should consider both increasing home cooking and reducing fast food intake.