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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Essay

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As of 2013, one sixth of the entire country was enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Through this program, 47 million Americans are given federal financial aid to purchase fresh groceries (Plumer). One of the highly debated provisions of the SNAP program is what participants should be allowed to use their food stamps for. As of right now, food stamps can only be used to purchase food that can be cooked or eaten at home, preventing families from spending the federal aid at restaurants (USDA). Recently, the fast food corporation YUM!, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, has lobbied to change this restriction (USA Today). Should people benefitting from the SNAP program have the right to spend their money on food that has been proven to lead to chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity (Livestrong)? Michelle Gourdine, a senior associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains what she believes to be the absurdity of this concept in her article, “No Funds For Fast Food.” While I agree that fast food is not the best way to feed a family, I think the issue is more complicated than the argument she presents. It would be ideal for food stamps to promote a healthier lifestyle, however, we shouldn’t compromise people’s ability to feed their families in order to do so.
In “No Funds for Fast Food,” Michelle Gourdine explains that a majority of the American public has unhealthy eating habits and is overweight. She attributes this to the busy American lifestyle in which people would rather eat unhealthy but convenient foods than healthier home-cooked meals. According to Gourdine, “These poor nutrition habits contribute to an obesity ...


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... 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 Mar. 2014.
Plumer, Brad. “Why are 47 million Americans on food stamps? It’s the recession — mostly.” The Washington Post. 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2014.
Using Food Stamps. United States Department of Agriculture, 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2014
Orciari, Megan. “Federal food program pays billions for sugar-sweetened beverages.” Yale News. 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.
“SNAP/Food Stamps.” Food Research and Action Center. n.p. 2010. Web. 9 Mar. 2014.
“Fact Sheet: Sugary Drink Supersizing and the Obesity Epidemic.” Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Jun. 2012. Web. 9 Mar. 2014.
Barrie, Leslie. “The Healthiest Options at Fast Food Restaurants.” Health. Health Media Ventures, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2014.
Ellis, Jonathon, Megan Luther. “Restaurants want a piece of food stamp pie.” USA Today. 9 July 2011. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.


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