The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was designed to help low-income people purchase nutritious foods in the US. In recent years, there has been a consistent call for banning purchases of sugar drinks in SNAP.
The aim of this study was to examine the association between SNAP participation and the frequency of sugar-sweetened soft drink (SSD) consumption among low-income adults in the US.
Data came from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Low-income adults aged ≥20 years with a household income ≤250% of the Federal Poverty Level (N = 1200) were categorized into two groups based on the household's SNAP receipt: SNAP recipients (n = 393) and non-recipients (n = 807). Propensity-score matching was used to minimize observable differences between these two groups that may explain the difference in SSD consumption, generating the final sample of 393 matched pairs (SNAP recipients, n = 393; non-recipients, n = 393). An ordinal logistic regression was conducted on the matched sample.
SNAP recipients were more likely to report higher levels of SSD consumption, compared with non-recipients (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.17-2.07). Male gender (AOR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.17-2.46), younger age (AOR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.96-0.99), lower education level (AOR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.33-3.89), and soda availability in homes (AOR = 2.24, 95% CI = 1.77-2.83) were also associated with higher levels of SSD consumption among low-income adults.
SNAP participation was associated with frequent SSD consumption. To reduce SSD consumption, strategic efforts need to focus on educating people about the harms of SSD and promoting nutritious food choices with SNAP benefits.