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Food Stamps

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In recent debates and budget cut discussions, the guidelines for food stamps have been brought up an increasing amount. This is due primarily to the view of what an individual can purchase on food stamps, their nutritional value and placing certain guidelines for healthier living in regards to food stamps would decrease the amount of money going into the program. There are several generalized concepts regarding changing food stamps for healthier living and how these changes would affect beneficiaries’ health as well as their benefits.

Mandated Food Guidelines

One of the most heated debates and discussions regarding changing food stamps for healthier living, is the mandated food guidelines solution. This solution would mean that food stamps would run in a similar fashion as WIC. For a beneficiary on food stamps they would be allowed certain types of foods with in their budgeted benefit amount. For example, if a family receives $500 a month in food stamp benefits, they would still be able to purchase up to the $500 amount. However, the food they would be allowed to purchase would be strictly mandated. For example, instead of purchasing white bread they would only be able to purchase honey wheat bread, low sugar bread or similar bread products.

These mandated food guidelines would also remove junk food. This is where the debate becomes an issue of personal rights and choice. Some feel that a mandated guideline on junk food would mean stricter guidelines on how to define junk food and what junk food actually is. Others feel that the mandated guideline takes away a person’s right to choose what they eat and how much they eat.

Health Evaluations

Health and nutritional evaluations are also part of the changes proposed for the food stamp program. In essence, an individual who is applying for food stamps would have to submit to a nutritional and health evaluation. This nutritional and health evaluation would be not only for the main beneficiary but any other beneficiaries listed on the food stamp benefit account. This would mean children, spouses or anyone living within the home. The health and nutritional evaluations would determine what types of food are best for the family and what would be mandated on the food guidelines for that family.

The concept is fairly simple, in that it determines potential issues and helps families maintain a healthier lifestyle. If a child or member of the family has diabetes, the mandated food guidelines would fall under a diabetic nutrition plan. If there are several nutritional issues in the house each one would be considered and evaluated to follow certain mandated guidelines.

Problems with Guidelines and Evaluations

The problems with guidelines and evaluations as they relate to food stamp beneficiaries, is the implementation cost of the program. Though the end result would lead to healthier living, the initial result would lead to deeper debt and more money spent on the food stamp program. For this reason, there are many proponents of guideline and regulation mandating for the program so long as the guidelines and implementation were suitable to the budget. There has yet to be a balancing factor between budget costs, implementation costs and healthier guidelines.

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