Recent studies have reported that SNAP participants have poorer diet quality than non-participants. This study aimed to examine how differences in socio-demographic, household, and health-related measures explain disparities in diet quality between SNAP participants and non-participants using Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis. We analyzed cross-sectional data on 14,331 adult respondents of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009 – 2014. To measure diet quality, we applied the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015 to respondents’ 24-hour dietary recall data (scale: 0–100 points). We used Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition analysis to determine how much of the disparity in HEI-2015 total score between SNAP participants and non-participants was explained by socio-demographic (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, educational), household (e.g., household size, food security status), and health-related measures (e.g., BMI, smoking status). Analyses performed revealed significant differences in HEI-2015 total score by SNAP participation status (p < 0.001). We found that the total gap in HEI-2015 total score between SNAP participants and income-ineligible non-participants was 6.30 points. Socio-demographic measures alone explained 72.40% of the disparity. All measures together explained 86.31% of the disparity. The total gap between SNAP participants and income-eligible non-participants was 3.24 points. Socio-demographic measures alone explained 35.51% of this disparity while all measures together explained 56.86%. We observed disparities in diet quality between SNAP participants and non-participants. Socio-demographic, household, and health-related measures explained a significant amount of the disparity that existed between SNAP participants and income-ineligible non-participants; they explained less of the disparity between SNAP participants and income-eligible non-participants.
- Food assistance
- Nutrition surveys
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health