SNAP recipients eat extra energy, however wholesome meals should be prioritized

April 08, 2021

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Saw-Aung M et al. Abstract # 346. Presented at: National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meetings (virtual meeting); April 6-10, 2021.

Disclosure:
The authors do not report any relevant financial information.

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Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) had higher caloric intake than non-participants, according to a study of patients with kidney disease, some of whom also reported nutritional insecurity.

However, receiving SNAP benefits, which increased 40% with the passage of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act in March 2020, did not result in an adequate diet or healthy diet.

SNAP benefits and kidney disease

“We were interested in the impact of diet and nutritional policy on health outcomes.” Monica Saw-Aung, from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, said Healio Nephrology. “While we all instinctively understand that better eating means better health, the realities of the distribution and accessibility of food can be significant barriers. SNAP benefits help tackle food shortages on a superficial level, but we wanted to assess how they contribute to better nutrition on a more quantitative level. “

For the investigation, the researchers identified patients in the city center who suffered from chronic kidney disease or who had undergone a kidney transplant. Of the total study population, 47% received SNAP benefits and the median income was less than $ 20,000. Overall, 76.4% of the participants were black and 10.9% were Spanish. The researchers found that while there were no significant differences in age, gender, or race between SNAP recipients and non-recipients, SNAP recipients were less likely to attend college (35% versus 70%) and were more likely to be unemployed and retired or deactivated.

After a diet rating using a 24-hour recall, Saw-Aung and colleagues found that SNAP recipients had more calories (1,552 versus 1,158), more fat (63.4 versus 44.6), and less fiber (8.06 versus 8.06) 13.4) ate as a non-recipient.

Similarly, those who received SNAP benefits burned more calories in patients who also reported food insecurity than those who received no benefits (1,516 versus 1,187). The recipients also consumed more protein (74.7 versus 24.6).

No differences between the groups in terms of carbohydrate, sugar or sodium intake were observed.

“During our research, we found that several patients who showed food shortages turned down food delivery programs because they did not enjoy the food on offer or believed that certain unwanted foods were being wasted,” Saw-Aung said of the stake of patients who reported food insecurity. “If nutrition programs could find ways to accommodate certain food preferences or swap parts of their meals, they could potentially encourage better compliance for those in need and reduce food waste.”

Saw-Aung also said it is important to develop individual patient plans when providing food services that take into account different patient perspectives and specific resources.

“Therefore, health professionals should be educated more about available local food resources and healthy eating strategies that are convenient for the patient,” she said.

For additional research, Saw-Aung suggests focusing on the effectiveness of various nutritional education strategies rather than the effectiveness of various diets.

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National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting

National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting

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