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As I See It

Carrots healthier than sticks



Carrots are a healthy snack. And can be an effective tool for changing behavior, at least when compared to the stick. The Wisconsin legislature is finally choosing the carrot when it comes to encouraging those on public assistance to eat healthy. For years, lawmakers have tried to use the stick to ensure food stamp recipients eat healthy by trying to limit what they could purchase. They were offended that those enrolled in Wisconsin’s FoodShare program sometimes used the benefits to buy soda and chips. Others were upset that people used public assistance to buy shrimp or salmon, even though those food items are high in nutritional value. Those efforts to require FoodShare recipients purchase only foods that have “sufficient nutritional value” and prohibit them from buying junk food have failed to pass the legislature in recent years. So now, wisely, they are trying the carrot. A pilot program would be created in Wisconsin to encourage healthy eating by those on food stamps by offering them discounts on their purchases of healthy foods. The program would offer 50% discounts on fresh produce and other healthy foods. It would also require a study to see if it actually led to people eating healthier. And unlike past efforts to use the stick approach, the bill has bipartisan support. It is good to see lawmakers finally willing to dangle the carrot. It sure tastes a lot better than the stick.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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