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Heflin study on the effect of SNAP on mortality published in Health Affairs

Oct 31, 2019

The Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Mortality

Colleen Heflin, Samuel Ingram & James Ziliak

Health Affairs, October 2019

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest food assistance program in the United States. Although participation in it has been shown to reduce food insecurity, there is comparatively less clear causal evidence of positive health effects of participation, particularly among adults.

The authors examined the relationship between SNAP participation and premature mortality using data for 1997–2009 from the National Health Interview Survey, linked to data for 1999–2011 from the National Death Index. Results from bivariate probit models found that participation in SNAP led to a populationwide reduction of 1–2 percentage points in mortality from all causes and a reduction in specific causes of death among people ages 40–64.

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