Food Stamp Usage

The United States Food Stamp Program is a federal assistance program that makes food items available, accessible and affordable to low income people living in theUnited States. Food stamp program as laid in the implementation policy aims at assisting low-income households in obtaining adequate and nutritious diets. The program rests on the assumption that households with restricted incomes may deny on food purchases and live on diets that are inadequate in quantity and quality. Food stamps are used not only for increasing food but also as income maintenance.

In addition, Food Stamp Program (FSP) makes nutritious food more readily available. Most of the food items provided are fortified and enriched with vitamins and minerals ensuring that the foods available to poor families are more than adequately nutritious. According to the study carried in theUniversityofMarylandin 2002, individuals in food stamp program differed significantly from those living in non-recipient households in income maintenance as well as nutritional quality of the food they consumed. Therefore, most of the households in FSP rarely slid back into poverty or re-enrolled in to welfare programs as it were evidenced in those who were not in the program.

The critics of the Food Stamp Programs have argued that these programs have encouraged unhealthy eating habits as well as extravagant spending on food items resulting into malnutrition and other food related illnesses in the majority of the residents of theUnited States. However, a study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the effects of food stamp purchases have found out that  program participants in a larger extent spend more of their income in the purchase of fruits vegetables and healthy foods than low income consumers who do not participate in the program(Rossi, peter H. 1998).


Rossi, peter H. (1998). Feeding The Poor: Assessing Federal Food Aid.Washington: AEI