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Abstract

While there is mixed evidence of the impact of food assistance programs on obesity, there is general agreement that the food-insecure are at higher risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases. Food assistance programs, originally designed to overcome a lack of available food, now need to confront a very different problem: how to provide for the food-insecure while encouraging healthy lifestyles. This paper examines the potential to address these competing needs using traditional economic policies (manipulating information or prices) versus policies engaging behavioral economics and psychology.

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