COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WACH) -- South Carolina health officials are held their first of four public meetings to hear what foods should be removed from the list of eligible items for people on food stamps.
The discussion is part of the Department of Health and Environmental Control's efforts to fight obesity in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley and health officials want the federal government to let the state restrict food stamp purchases of unhealthy foods.
Thursday's meeting at the Richland County Council chambers in Columbia was packed with people who were able to to voice their opinions on the waiver.
"You go grocery shopping prices are high, they are very high. Not only that but with the healthy choices it's even higher," said single mother Chanel Johnson.
"I go to the store and I litterally tear up because no I can't buy this, no I can't buy that it's too much money so what do I do...I feed them the cheap stuff," said retired nurse Susan Singleton.
However dietician Susan White agrees with updating the eligible food list, saying "I think we have gotten sidetracked, because everybody loves chips and candy and soda and those things do taste good, but when you think about it though they are not helping you to grow."
Many at the meeting brought up the fact that people are not educated to know what they should about eating healthier, and until people become more educated the obesity problem will not improve.
Future meetings are scheduled for March 28 in Florence, April 18 in Greenville and May 2 in North Charleston.
Currently, about 878,000 people in South Carolina receive about $1.4 billion in benefits each year through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.