The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) is the primary domestic hunger-relief program. The SNAP program’s goal is to provide nutrition assistance to millions of US people who come from low-income families while also providing economic opportunities to those populations. The service partners closely with nutrition educators, state governments, and faith-based groups to ensure that those who use the initiative are aware of it and willing to participate. Any partners, such as the retail sector, ensure that the service is constantly strengthened and administered with dignity. It is important for the food stamps to make sure that they provide healthy products to the individuals from low-income families. As such, this paper will provide the justification to ban soda by relating it to diabetes and state some measures that can be applied.
Rationale for the Proposal to Ban Soda
Soda contains a lot of liquid sugar which is one of the primary drivers of obesity and diabetes (NIDDK). The two conditions are interrelated because when an individual acquires either of them, it makes the body more vulnerable to acquire the other. The sugar in soda provides calories to the body in liquid form, and this is what makes it very dangerous. The body absorbs the sugar in minutes, and it leads to a spike in the blood sugar level. If the spike is not properly handled or becomes very repetitive, then the sugar affects the process of converting sugar into fat by the liver and directly results in the development of diabetes (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).
The SNAP program aims at improving the lives of individuals especially those from low-income households (NIDDK). When the people from poor backgrounds get diabetes, they begin to depend on the government which adds the burden on the taxpayer. As such, the value of the money is not felt by the citizens because it is not engaged in any development. Moreover, the role of the program in ensuring that individuals live a quality life by providing food products is not achieved efficiently. Therefore, when the ban is enacted, it will make sure that the low-income people are provided with healthy products and in the end deliver value for the money paid by taxpayers.
Figure 1 (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion)
The figure above shows the increase in the number of people with diabetes in the US. The number has been increasing over the years and as such there is a need to take measures to prevent further increase.
Steps to Use
The Colorado Public Health Improvement Steering Committee (PHISC) has already identified that diabetes is an epidemic in their state according to their 2015-2019 plan. Therefore, the first step in seeking to implement the ban on soda in the SNAP program is to get their support. They will identify diabetes and obesity as an upcoming issue that needs to be addressed. Therefore, they will include it in the 2020-2024 PHISC Plan for Colorado State.
The second step is to take the proposal to the congressmen. They will get a detailed explanation on how frequent intake of soda affects individuals and the impact it has on the SNAP program. At this point, all the supporters of the proposal will contact the congressmen so that they understand that it is an issue that affects the whole society. The support from the citizens of Colorado at this point is essential to help the PHISC and the congressmen to understand the detrimental effects of soda on their health. The final step is for the congressmen to honor the wish of the citizens by banning soda from the SNAP program.
Measures to Use in the Implementation
Education about the effects of frequent intake of soda will be the first measure that the implementation of the ban will adopt (Fifield). Most of the individuals from low-income families are illiterate, and as such, they pay little attention to the ingredients of the products they purchase. Therefore, they do not understand the effect the sodas have on their bodies. They need to be educated about the consequences of consumption on their body parts and how it makes then vulnerable to other conditions such as cancer and heart-related diseases.
Individuals also need to be educated on the costs related to diabetes that comes as a result of taking in too much soda. They need to understand that diabetes is a lifestyle condition that requires frequent hospitalization and medication. When they understand that the state can bring more complications such as liver diseases, kidney failure, blindness and others (Berenson), they will figure out why it is important to ban the purchase of soda using the SNAP program. They will also feel the impact that the disease could have on their families and friends.
The introduction of alternatives in the SNAP program is another measure that the proposal will use (Berenson). The food stamps are meant for the individuals who come from poor backgrounds, and it is important that they meet the objective of ensuring they lead quality lives. Therefore, when soda is banned, the program should consider alternatives such as fruit juices, no calorically sweetened beverages, nutrition shakes and skim milk amongst others. Therefore, the individuals will have options to turn to when the soda is banned.
Civic education to teach the citizens about the importance of accountability in public funds is another measure that this proposal will use (Fifield). The citizens are not usually aware of how their tax money is spent. Most of it goes to programs such as the food stamps and other developmental projects. It does not make any sense for the government to use the money of the taxpayer to provide soda and later use it to manage a condition caused by the sodas. Therefore, the civic education will help the taxpayer to understand the need for the ban as it will ensure that their funds are properly utilized.
The citizens will also understand that does not make any point for the government to provide individuals with poor backgrounds with products that have no nutritional value. The citizens will know that the role of the program is to improve the quality of their life and as such, there is the need to ensure that they access healthy food products. Therefore, the citizens will be able to support the proposal to ban soda from the SNAP program.
One Opposing Argument
The activist who do not support the ban claim that it contributes to loss of money from the economy. Soda, candy and pharmaceutical companies which manufacture these products contribute to the growth of the economy (Fifield). Therefore, if the ban is enacted, it means that less soda and candy will be bought and this will affect their productivity. The enactment of the ban will also challenge individuals to lead healthy lives by proper feeding which will reduce their vulnerability towards diabetes and obesity. Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry will also reduce its sales and hence productivity. The activities claim that these are major drivers of the economy as they are mass producers.
It is, however, important to note that the economic benefits of these industries outweigh the costs of managing diabetes and obesity (Berenson). The revenue that the government collects from these companies ends up being used in programs such as SNAP and medical care facilities. Therefore, in the end, the money goes back to these companies and fails to benefit the citizens. Money collected by the government should be used in development, raising the standards of living and ensuring proper care for its citizens. Moreover, diabetes caused by intake of soda brings a lot of suffering to the individuals as they are frequently hospitalized and become a burden to their families. They also affect their families both financially and emotionally as they become dependent on them especially in the late stages of the illness.
The citizens of Colorado must make sure that the congressmen hear their voices. They must back up the plan of the Colorado Public Health Improvement Steering Committee which maintains that the provision of purchasing soda in the SNAP program is detrimental to the health of the individuals who use the food stamps. Moreover, the ban will influence other states, and in the end, they will achieve a higher quality of life for the citizens of the country. The proposal to ban soda is also very relevant for the state because it is easy to implement. The ban does not ask for the government to ban a list of products from the food stamps. It is very specific to the sodas because they are the main contributors to the development of obesity and hence diabetes. The ban will, therefore, give more value for the taxpayer’s money used in the SNAP program as it will be spent on development projects other than the purchase of soda and treatment of the illnesses it causes.
Berenson, Tessa. “Congress Considers Banning the Use of Food Stamps to Buy Junk Food.” 17 February 2017. Congress.com. Web. 28 April 2017.
Fifield, Jen. “Should People be Barred from Buying Junk Food with Food Stamps?” 24 February 2017. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Web. 28 April 2017.
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “National Diabetes Statistics Report.” June 2014. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Web. 27 April 2017.
NIDDK. “Overweight and Obesity Statistics.” December 2016. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Web. 27 April 2017.