Food assistance programs may be doing more harm than good in cities where food is expensive, say researchers at George Washington University and Rice University. A recent study found that federal assistance programs, in particular the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, may be contributing to early childhood obesity. While these programs have potential to combat obesity by influencing what people eat, the study states that evidence shows counterproductive effects as recipients resort to lower-cost, less nutritional foods. The study recommends including greater outreach, dietary guidelines, and cost-of-living supplements to be more effective. Currently one-third of children are overweight, and 16 percent are obese.