skip to main content

Title: SNAP and WIC Participation During Childhood and Food Security in Adulthood, 1984–2019
Objectives. To examine the effects of childhood participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on adult food security in the United States. Methods. We used data from the 1984 to 2019 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to follow a balanced panel of 1406 individuals from birth through ages 20 to 36 years. We measured food insecurity from 1999 to 2003 and 2015 to 2019 among those who resided in low-income households during childhood. Results. Twenty-eight percent of individuals who resided in low-income households during childhood exhibited improved food security status from childhood to adulthood. Those who participated in SNAP and WIC during childhood had 4.16-fold higher odds (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.91, 9.03) of being more food secure than those who were eligible for but did not receive SNAP or WIC, and those who participated in SNAP alone had 3.28-fold higher odds (95% CI = 1.56, 6.88). Conclusions. Participation in social safety net programs such as SNAP and WIC during childhood helps to improve food security across the life course. Our findings add evidence regarding the long-term benefits of participation in SNAP and WIC during childhood. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(10):1498–1506. )  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Journal of Public Health
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1498 to 1506
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    We use a novel retail panel with detailed transaction records to study the effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on household spending. We use administrative data to motivate three approaches to causal inference. The marginal propensity to consume SNAP-eligible food (MPCF) out of SNAP benefits is 0.5 to 0.6. The MPCF out of cash is much smaller. These patterns obtain even for households for whom SNAP benefits are economically equivalent to cash because their benefits are below their food spending. Using a semiparametric framework, we reject the hypothesis that households respect the fungibility of money. A model with mental accounting can match the facts. (JEL D12, H75, I12, I18, I38) 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract Objective: To examine the effect of food insecurity during college on graduation and degree attainment. Design: Secondary analysis of longitudinal panel data. We measured food insecurity concurrent with college enrollment using the 18-question USDA Household Food Security Survey Module. Educational attainment was measured in 2015-2017 via two questions about college completion and highest degree attained. Logistic and multinomial-logit models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics were estimated. Setting: United States (US) Participants: A nationally representative, balanced panel of 1,574 college students in the US in 1999-2003 with follow-up through 2015-2017 from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Results: In 1999-2003, 14.5% of college students were food insecure and were more likely to be older, non-White, and first-generation students. In adjusted models, food insecurity was associated with lower odds of college graduation (OR 0.57, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.88, p=0.01) and lower likelihood of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree (RRR 0.57 95% CI: 0.35, 0.92, p=0.02) or graduate/professional degree (RRR 0.39, 95% CI: 0.17, 0.86, p=0.022). These associations were more pronounced among first-generation students. 47.2% of first-generation students who experienced food insecurity graduated from college; food insecure first-generation students were less likely to graduate compared to first-generation students who were food secure (47.2% vs. 59.3%, p=0.020) and non-first-generation students who were food insecure (47.2% vs. 65.2%, p=0.037). Conclusions: Food insecurity during college is a barrier to graduation and higher degree attainment, particularly for first-generation students. Existing policies and programs that help mitigate food insecurity should be expanded and more accessible to the college student population. 
    more » « less
  3. The objective of the study was to assess the relationship between participation in the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and food-related behavior change, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2005, using a single-state, case study approach. Pre-EFNEP and post-EFNEP participation HEI scores as well as demographic, geographic, socioeconomic, and program participation characteristics from fiscal years 2013-2016 were analyzed using summary statistics and Ordinary Least Squares regressions. HEI scores were adjusted for age, sex, race, rural/urban residence, county, highest grade achieved, income, number of children, public assistance programs, and number of hours in EFNEP in the analysis. The total HEI score and several HEI subscores improved from pre-EFNEP to post-EFNEP at the 5% significance level or better. Sodium and total grains scores decreased post-EFNEP: P = .003 and P = .05, respectively. Participation in Women, Infants, and Children or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program had no effect on HEI scores or changes in scores post-EFNEP. Spending less than 7 hours in the program was associated with a smaller improvement in total HEI score ( P = .05) and an increased intake of sodium ( P = .03), compared with spending 7 to 16 hours in the program. Overall, EFNEP participation was associated with improvements in diet quality. 
    more » « less
  4. This survey study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to compare trends from 2015 to 2019 in food insecurity among households with children with trends from 1999 to 2003. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Objectives

    This study compared the prevalence of concentrated urine (urine specific gravity ≥1.021), an indicator of hypohydration, across Tsimane' hunter‐forager‐horticulturalists living in hot‐humid lowland Bolivia and Daasanach agropastoralists living in hot‐arid Northern Kenya. It tested the hypotheses that household water and food insecurity would be associated with higher odds of hypohydration.


    This study collected spot urine samples and corresponding weather data along with data on household water and food insecurity, demographics, and health characteristics among 266 Tsimane' households (N = 224 men, 235 women, 219 children) and 136 Daasanach households (N = 107 men, 120 women, 102 children).


    The prevalence of hypohydration among Tsimane' men (50.0%) and women (54.0%) was substantially higher (P < .001) than for Daasanach men (15.9%) and women (17.5%); the prevalence of hypohydration among Tsimane' (37.0%) and Daasanach (31.4%) children was not significantly different (P= .33). Multiple logistic regression models suggested positive but not statistically significant trends between household water insecurity and odds of hypohydration within populations, yet some significant joint effects of water and food insecurity were observed. Heat index (2°C) was associated with a 23% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.09‐1.40,P= .001), 34% (95% CI: 1.18‐1.53,P < .0005), and 23% (95% CI: 1.04‐1.44,P= .01) higher odds of hypohydration among Tsimane' men, women, and children, respectively, and a 48% (95% CI: 1.02‐2.15,P= .04) increase in the odds among Daasanach women. Lactation status was also associated with hypohydration among Tsimane' women (odds ratio = 3.35, 95% CI: 1.62‐6.95,P= .001).


    These results suggest that heat stress and reproductive status may have a greater impact on hydration status than water insecurity across diverse ecological contexts.

    more » « less