Candy, Soda Out for Food Stamp Recipients?


By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- South Carolina is attempting to become the first state in the nation to issue a state-wide initiative that will restrict what those, receiving monetary food-assistance, can purchase.

"As long as we allow this to happen, we're allowing obesity to happen and that's not going to happen in this state anymore," says Governor Nikki Haley, R-South Carolina

Thursday, health officials from across South Carolina announced a move that, they say, will reduce the number one epidemic in the state, obesity.

"Well, they can still still have potato chips, but they have to buy it with their own money and not our money," says Dr. Janice Key of MUSC

Health officials say right now one-third of adults and almost a quarter of children in South Carolina are obese.

"South Carolina's current generation of youngsters will live sicker and die younger," says Dr. Marion Burton of the Department of Health and Human Services

In fact, health officials say it's the number one killer of South Carolinians say it's the number one killer of South Carolinians and if something isn't done over 60% of the population will be affected by obesity by 2030.

In order to reduce that, officials want to make changes to S.N.A.P. - Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

"There's a lot of money in this thing, there's a lot of investment of those federal dollars and that's $1.4 billion," says Lillian Koller, Director of SCDSS.

The idea is to limit what can be purchased through S.N.A.P., for example instead of candy and chips, fruits and vegetables.

The only items currently restricted are alcohol and cigarettes.

"At what point do we not have accountability?," says Haley.

Some argue the move will be difficult because of the belief that it costs more to eat healthy, but Koller says that's a myth.

"C'mon this is affordable this is accessible," says Koller.

Crandall Sims reporting, "Just to give you an idea of where we stand, here in the South the obesity rate is 29.5%, followed by the Midwest at 29%, the Northeast at 25.3% and the West at 24.3%. South Carolina itself ranks 8th in the nation for obesity. As for the proposed S.N.A.P initiative, officials want to hear from you and plan to launch an online survey soon.

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