A new study from the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service shows many recipients of federal nutrition benefits still encounter issues in their efforts to eat a healthy diet. 

According to the study, almost 90% of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients reported facing obstacles to healthy eating throughout the month. The study, Barriers That Constrain the Adequacy of SNAP Allotments, aimed to determine individual and environmental barriers to SNAP participants achieving healthy diets and to determine how these issues can be addressed in SNAP allotments.

Of those who reported facing challenges to healthy eating, 61% of participants said affordability of healthy foods was the barrier, 19% pointed to a lack of transportation to the grocery store, and 18% said it was the distance to the grocery store. Participants in rural areas reported greater travel times to a grocery store.

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Households who faced the affordability barrier were 2.3 times more likely to experience low or very low food security, and were more likely to redeem all their SNAP benefits within two weeks of issuance and to have multiple assistance programs as their sole source of income.

The nationally representative survey used in the study includes 4,522 completed surveys conducted between May and November 2018 from SNAP participants in 26 states.

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