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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Are we subsidizing a public health crisis by allowing the poor to buy soda with food stamps?

Are we subsidizing a public health crisis by allowing the poor to buy soda with food stamps?

A major study of the grocery-buying habits of millions of Americans released late last year found that people using food stamps generally make the same unhealthy food choices as everyone else in America. Too many sweets, salty snacks and prepared desserts. Junk food, in other words.

But when it came to soda and its sugary ilk, the results were more surprising, and not in a good way. According to the USDA-funded study, shoppers using food stamps spent a larger share of their budget — 9.25% to be exact — on sugar-sweetened beverages than other shoppers. Even more startling:...

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