UKCPR researchers publish new study on SNAP benefits

A new paper by Colleen Heflin, Sam Ingram, and UKCPR Director James Ziliak, published in the November 2019 edition of Health Affairs, highlights the positive effects of participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The Effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Mortality links the use of SNAP benefits with reduced mortality. The authors examined data from the National Health Interview Survey, linked to the National Death Index. Their results show that participation in SNAP led to a reduction of 1–2 percentage points in mortality from all causes and a reduction in specific causes of death among people ages 40–64. The newly published research was also featured in the Nov. 4 issue of the Huffington Post.

The researchers utilized the Kentucky Research Data Center in the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky to gain access to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Death Index (NDI), which are both maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NHIS data covers a broad range of health topics that are collected through personal household interviews. NHIS data track health status, health care access, and progress toward achieving national health objectives..NDI contains about 95 million records from 1979 through 2016 from 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. As of 2017, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas are also included.