BOSTON — Americans largely support increasing or maintaining federal spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which used to be known as the Food Stamp Program, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and a report that appeared in the December issue of Public Health Nutrition.

A survey of 3,024 adults conducted in April concluded 77% of respondents supported maintaining or increasing SNAP benefits, with 88% support among Democrats and 61% support among Republicans.

The public also supported policies to improve the nutritional impact of SNAP with 82% of respondents supporting providing additional benefits to participants that only may be used on healthful foods.

In addition, 69% of respondents supported removing SNAP benefits for sugary drinks. Fifty-four per cent of SNAP program participants supported removing benefits for sugary drinks, but 45% of the participants who initially opposed removing benefits for such beverages said they would support removing the benefits for these beverages if the policy also included additional benefits to purchase healthful foods.

Congress is set to debate changes to the SNAP program in the coming months.