Cardiometabolic Mortality by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation and Eligibility in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2017 Mar;107(3):466-474. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303608. Epub 2017 Jan 19.


Objectives: To investigate total and cause-specific cardiometabolic mortality among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, SNAP-eligible nonparticipants, and SNAP-ineligible individuals overall and by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics.

Methods: We performed a prospective study with nationally representative survey data from the National Health Interview Survey (2000-2009), merged with subsequent Public-Use Linked Mortality Files (2000-2011). We used survey-weighted Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age and gender to estimate hazard ratios of total and cause-specific cardiometabolic mortality for 499 741 US adults aged 25 years or older.

Results: Over a mean of 6.8 years of follow-up (maximum 11.9 years), 39 293 deaths occurred, including 7408 heart disease, 2185 stroke, and 1376 diabetes deaths. Individuals participating in SNAP exhibited higher total and cardiovascular disease mortality, largely limited to non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks, than both SNAP-eligible nonparticipants and SNAP-ineligible individuals, and higher diabetes mortality across races/ethnicities (P < .01).

Conclusions: Participants in SNAP require greater focus to understand and further address their poor health outcomes. Public Health Implications. Low-income Americans require even greater efforts to improve their health than they currently receive, and such efforts should be a priority for public health policymakers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality*
  • Eligibility Determination*
  • Female
  • Food Assistance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States