in the last two decades. In 1992 only seven states had approved nutrition education plans, and the federal share of funding was $661,000. By 2011, all states and the District of Columbia had approved plans, and the federal share of funding was $372 million (FNS, 2011b). However, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 placed a cap on federal funding for SNAP-Ed of $375 million in FY 2011 and then indexed funding to inflation in future years.

As part of its examination of the evidence, the committee discussed the role of SNAP in providing nutrition education. Three alternative scenarios were highlighted in this discussion:

•   SNAP should offer nutrition education because it serves one in seven Americans and therefore has an opportunity to impact national nutrition and health.

•   Because SNAP participants have many of the same dietary problems experienced by the population as a whole, nutrition education should be undertaken equally for all Americans and funded accordingly (i.e., SNAP funds should not be diverted to nutrition education).

•   The low-income population, as represented by SNAP participants, has special challenges and burdens that should be addressed through unique nutrition education approaches funded by the SNAP program.

SNAP nutrition education programs need more and better evaluation, including studies investigating optimal approaches to delivering educational messages. The committee did consider the role of nutrition education in the food purchasing decisions made by SNAP participants to better inform its assessment of the feasibility of defining the adequacy of SNAP allotments.


The evidence presented in this chapter highlights a number of challenges related to the calculation of SNAP benefits that have an impact on defining their adequacy. The committee’s findings and conclusions based on this evidence focus on the maximum benefit guarantee, the BRR, and the net income calculation.

Maximum Benefit Guarantee

The TFP does not account for the time costs of food acquisition and preparation or for geographic variation in the cost of food. Limited evidence from community-level studies indicates that some SNAP households

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