Under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, the Agriculture Department took steps to improve access to SNAP for eligible low-income working families and families moving from welfare to work, such as reducing unnecessary paperwork requirements and ensuring that leaving welfare for work did not cause a family to lose SNAP benefits. Eric M. Bost, who served as Bush’s Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, described the program’s role in supporting work and advancing welfare reform goals at a June 2001 congressional hearing:
However, the effects of poverty are not predictably uniform. Longitudinal studies of health behavior describe positive (., tobacco use cessation) and negative (., decrease in physical activity) health behavior trends in both lower and higher socioeconomic populations. However, there is a socioeconomic gradient in health improvement; in other words, lower socioeconomic populations lag behind higher socioeconomic populations in positive gains from health behavior trends. Health behaviors are important in that they account for differences in mortality. 20 The fact that positive changes in health behaviors are possible in spite of the challenges of poverty points to the importance of developing and implementing interventions that promote healthy behaviors in low-income populations.