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Invited Commentary
November 2016

Incentive and Restriction in Combination—Make Food Assistance Healthier With Carrots and Sticks

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, University of Conneticut, Hartford
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1619-1620. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6104

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal food assistance program and a critical component of the social safety net. The primary purpose of SNAP is to alleviate hunger. A body of research indicates that the program succeeds in this key mission and may also help reduce poverty, improve birth outcomes, and improve general health and well-being.1 In light of the evidence that SNAP accomplishes what it was designed to do, it is reasonable to argue that the program’s resources should be protected and its regulations remain the same. In other words, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

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