- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine has once again asked the federal government to ban the purchase of sugary drinks and candy with food stamps.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says the nutritional value of candy and soda doesn’t require further debate and that Maine faces rising obesity.

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study found soft drinks accounted for 5 percent of food stamp purchases.

The study examined the $70 billion food stamp program by looking at a leading grocery retailer’s 2011 data. Households not on food stamps spent about 4 percent of expenditures on soft drinks.

Mayhew says $700 million is spent on obesity-related medical expenditures in Maine.

The department also asked to shift $4 million in federal funding for nutrition education to food banks, schools and community organizations.

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