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Report: Banning Soda from Food Stamps Doesn’t Help Obesity Rates

John Gregory / Illinois Radio Network
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Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN/CAPITOL BUREAU) – Banning soda and other sugary drinks from the food stamp program wouldn’t help obesity rates, according to a new report.

CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute Elissa Bassler says that they believe food stamp recipients would buy those drinks with cash if they are not covered. In order to make a larger effect, a broader approach is needed.

“There is no silver bullet, and sugar sweetened beverages are a significant problem,” Bassler says. “We also need to make investments in a variety of other kinds of interventions around healthy eating and active living.”

She says it should include education and incentive programs for those on food stamps. She added that it is unclear if they consume more sugary drinks that everyone else.

“If you have sugar sweetened beverages in your cart and they weren’t allowable, just like other things aren’t allowable, at the end of your transaction the people who are paying additional cash would pay the cash for what was not allowable,” says Bassler.

She recommends that the General Assembly create a pilot program that would include a ban on buying those beverages, along with incentives to buy more nutritious foods.

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