I read there are 18 mayors in several cities, including my city of Louisville, wanting to push for taking away the privilege of buying sugary drinks with food stamps or SNAP benefits. Normally I would think this is a stupid idea but I actually feel like food stamps should only be used for food. Soda pop isn’t a food.
Since I am an expert on being poor, I can without a doubt say that the first items that most poor people buy with their food stamps are drinks, snacks, and processed foods. Why is this? Well because these items are cheap. A 2 liter bottle of soda cost less than a dollar and when you have several mouths to feed for the month people have to learn how to stretch their food stamps to make it through to the end of the month which means buy all the bad stuff because it will go further and is usually in packaging.
Certainly you can choose to buy healthy items with your food stamps but it is likely towards the end of the month you will run out of food. I run into this problem myself and I’m only feeding 2 people in my household. I believe if limiting certain items from purchase with food stamps would force people to make healthier food choices. Place sugary drinks on the top of the list along with candy or nutrition less snacks as items not needed. Food stamps should be used for nutrient filled foods like meats, vegetables, fruits not junk that fill you with empty calories.
This change will not stop the purchase of these items nor will it stop the obesity rate in children. Kids are obese because of being inactive by not getting enough outside play time and in some areas parents would opt to keep their children in the house to keep them safe from gun violence or street fights. When children get less outdoor time they are inside watching tv or playing video games. The parents are not spending as much time actively with the children being indoors. My child eats all kinds of sweet treats but she is hyperactive so she is constantly moving and I limit her sugar intake daily to keep her from being more hyper.
The WIC, Women, Infant, Children, program changed the types of foods that were available on the vouchers. At first only formula, milk, cheese, beans, and peanut butter were available. The program added fruits and vegetables and whole grains to the vouchers and they should apply the same idea for the food stamp or SNAP program.