JOURNAL ARTICLE

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation did not help low income Hispanic women in Texas meet the dietary guidelines

Angela Hilmers, Tzu-An Chen, Jayna M Dave, Deborah Thompson, Karen Weber Cullen
Preventive Medicine 2014, 62: 44-8
24530319

OBJECTIVE: Low-income Hispanic women are at greater risk for dietary deficiencies and obesity. We assessed the association between Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation and dietary intake among 661 Hispanic women aged 26-44 years living in Texas.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data was collected using standard methods. Analysis of variance and logistic regression examined the influence of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on diet after adjusting for household characteristics, body mass index, and food security status.

RESULTS: Most women did not meet recommended dietary guidelines. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants consumed higher amounts of total sugars, sweets-desserts, and sugar-sweetened beverages than Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program nonparticipants. High sodium intakes and low dairy consumption were observed in both groups. Only 27% of low-income eligible women received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

DISCUSSION: Low-income Hispanic women participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program reported less healthful dietary patterns than nonparticipants. This may contribute to the increased obesity prevalence and related comorbidities observed in this population.

CONCLUSION: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program should play an important role in enhancing the overall dietary quality of low-income households. Policy initiatives such as limiting the purchase of sugar-sweetened beverages and education to enable women to reduce consumption of high sodium processed foods deserve consideration as means to improve the dietary quality of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants. Effective measures are needed to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation rates among Hispanics.

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