Proposed law would bar people from buying soda and candy with food stamps in Arkansas

A proposed bill in Arkansas would block people from using food stamps for purchases of soda candy, energy drinks or dietary supplements.

Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can buy those now.

“Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items,” the guidelines read.

If the bill proposed by Rep. Mary Bentley passes, certain kinds of junk food would join a range of ineligible foods and products including alcohol, cigarettes, nonfood items, vitamins and hot foods.

“Overconsumption of foods, food products, and beverages 29 containing large amounts of sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, 30 and other diseases,” Bentley wrote in her bill.

Arkansas has the seventh highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to State of Obesity. It also has the 20th highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17.

Bentley attempted to pass a similar bill limiting what could be purchased with food stamps in 2017, but it failed to pass.

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