The effect of the supplemental nutrition assistance program on mortality

Colleen M. Heflin, Samuel J. Ingram, James P. Ziliak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest food assistance program in the United States. Although participation in it has been shown to reduce food insecurity, there is comparatively less clear causal evidence of positive health effects of participation, particularly among adults. We examined the relationship between SNAP participation and premature mortality using data for 1997–2009 from the National Health Interview Survey, linked to data for 1999–2011 from the National Death Index. Results from bivariate probit models found that participation in SNAP led to a populationwide reduction of 1–2 percentage points in mortality from all causes and a reduction in specific causes of death among people ages 40–64.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1807-1815
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Colleen Heflin and James Ziliak were supported by the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (Agreement No. 58-5000-3-0066). Samual Ingram was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1562503). Ziliak was also supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action (Systems and Services Research for a Culture of Health ID No. 75708). The opinions and conclusions are solely those of the authors and do not reflect those of any sponsoring agency. This research was conducted in the Kentucky Research Data Center with approval form the National Center for Health Statistics (Agreement No. 1533/1918). All output was reviewed for confidentiality before release.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Project HOPE— The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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