Arkansas House of Representatives Passed Bill Aligning Food Stamps With Other Health Initiatives

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Obesity rates in Arkansas (7.2% Latino) have been on the rise.

Excessively sugary foods and drinks increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and other chronic diseases. According to our research review, Latinos and people living in poverty are more likely to consume excessively sugary foods and drinks.

To address poor nutrition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has modified the nutrition standards for nearly all of its federal food programs to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, except for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

Arkansas Lawmakers proposed House Bill 1035 during the 2017 legislative session that would limit SNAP to foods that have “sufficient nutritional value.” The Arkansas Department of Health will use the federal guidelines for the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) as the basis for identifying foods, food products, and and beverages with sufficient nutritional value.

Improvements to federal food assistance programs can have a tremendous impact on Latino children and families. for example, 44% of SNAP participants are children and 16.1% of all SNAP participants are Latinos.  Additionally, 41.5% of all WIC participants are Latinos.

House Bill 1035 passed with a 55-39 vote.

The bill will now move to the Senate to be read and voted on.

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Access research, resources, and stories about data and best practices to improve Latino health here.

To learn more about this issue, read Moving Beyond the Debate Over Restricting Sugary Drinks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.



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