Free «Policy Cycle» Essay Sample
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides assistance for purchasing food for persons with a low income in the United States. The program is sponsored by government, and is managed by an agency known as the Food and Nutrition Service, which fall under the US Department of Agriculture. The following data represents. According to USDA (2014), the number of participants affected in Texas stands at 4041891 in the 2013, which is increase considering that there were 3003157 participants in 2009.
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
Evidences from past researches show that diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables are ideal for reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic in nature diseases. Obesity is associated with consumption of fast foods without incorporating fruits and vegetable. It is also important to note that fruits and vegetables provide people with important minerals and vitamins, fiber and other essential substances that are crucial for desirable/good health. Therefore, emphasis on consumption of fruits and vegetables is meant to attain a healthy nation with lower chances of cancer.
Foodstuffs under SNAP Program
Under the SNAP program, participants are exposed to a variety of diets. The United States Department of Agriculture stipulates a participant to use the SNAP befits to buy the following foods, namely fruits and vegetables, cereal products, bread and dairy products, fish, meat and chicken because these foodstuffs are good for human consumption.
Diet and Obesity
A typical SNAP diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, cereal products and white meat. On the other hand, according to Mother Jones(n.), a Standard American Diet is based on consumption of products containing animal, saturated and hydrogenated fats that are unhealthy, and low fiber diet, high processed food(commonly known as junk) having low complex of carbohydrates.
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The Standard American Diet can be said to be the cause of the increased obesity level among adults and children in the United States. On the other hand, the SNAP diet tries to increase the consumption of foodstuffs that have minimal negative effects on population. Therefore, obesity is directly and indirectly related to the Standard American Diet and SNAP diet respectively (George Washington University, n.d.). Obesity in both adults and children is the cause of many diseases among the citizens of the United States. According to MEDI (2014), about 65million adults and 10 million children in the United States are obese and subjected to life threatening diseases that can shorten their life and cause death. Examples of these diseases are diabetes, heart diseases, back pain, gallstones, skin infections, ulcers, high cholesterol levels and infertility. Therefore, it is true to state that the increase of mentioned diseases is a result of obesity in children and adults. The George Washington University (n.d.) states that obesity is the cause of more than 20 chronic diseases. The most notably diseases are cancer and diabetes.
There is a need for increased intake of fruits and vegetables among the SNAP participants. Harwood & Baker (n. d.) point the fact that low income earners are the groups that are most vulnerable to increased consumption of junk food, which causes many health issues. The low income earners have no possibbnility to buy healthy food and, therefore, pay attention to cheap processed food, which is unhealthy. This is a reason why the intake of fruits and vegetables should be increased within SNAP participation program so as to boost their health.The SNAP program includes fresh/frozen/canned/dried fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, oils and salts. It is for a reason that the program aims to enhance only nutrients from plants. This program does not allow 100% consumption of vegetable and fruit juices in the diet. Participants are also allowed to buy such foodstuffs as meat, fish, cereal products and bread. Also, the program does not allow intake of white potatoes since the potato does not contain the ideal carbohydrate nutrients and is mostly associated with causing obesity. This program should not only be limited to food groceries neighboring food dessert but should apply to all groceries so that there is easy access of the healthy foodstuffs. The incentives credited back on SNAP participants EBT cards should use SNAP-eligible foods and beverages so that the participants freedom of choice is not restricted and, hence no resistance to the program.
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Tools and equipment are very vital for the implementation of this program. It is important for retailers to be given cold refrigeration equipment so that they can be able to store foodstuffs for long without incurring costs. It is also significant for these retailers to be given the knowledge on sustainability of this kind of business so that they are not discouraged. Such knowledge may entail the processing of vegetables and even fruits in the best way possible. It should be the responsibility of the government to provide retailers with integrated cash registers who do not have them through subsidizing prices and giving them on loan. This is required for the success of the program. Moreover, there should be penalties for retailers who fail to give credit SNAP participants. The penalty should be revocation of licenses and possible suing for bridge of contracts. In case of there being no such penalties, the agricultural department should come up with their own grocery stores or give business only to private groceries that are committed and support the program.
Time is needed for proper implementation of any policy to achieve a success. Pilot programs should start in January 2015 and the whole program rolled out in 2016. The time between these two phases will allow for passing rules and regulations that govern this program so as to do way with ambiguity that is likely to arise. Time is also important for the integration of this program alongside other programs so that it is not perceived as a competitive program to drive fast food selling business from the market. The local government officials should oversee the implementation of this program since they are closer to the retailers and, hence can monitor them easily. This group is also best suited for policy implementation because it is part of policy implementation hierarchy.