Congress is currently deciding whether or not to minimize programs that help poor people buy food. There are public health experts, however, that say food stamp cuts could put both the short- and long-term health of tens of thousands of children in danger.
The concern comes from a dozen or so studies that looks at families and what happens when they aren’t able to put food on the table for their children. Time and time again food insecurity they prove that food security leaves children more susceptible to illness – even slowing their cognitive development in some cases.
Public health nutritionist Mariana Chilton of Drexel University comments on the possible effects of food stamp cuts:
“We’re going to see the consequences of this for a generation if we don’t help our kids.”
Nearly 46 million Americans currently receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps. More than half of SNAP recipients are children. Since the 2008 recession, federal SNAP funding rose from $35 billion to $80 billion. Those who consider the increase unnecessary are pushing for cuts in the next farm bill, a food and agricultural policy currently being debated in the senate.
Currently, the House farm bill would cut SNAP spending by roughly $21 billion over the next 10 years — Senate cuts would be $4.1 billion over the next decade. The main advocates say that a lot of funding is being misdirected, as well as the fact hunger is an exaggerated problem.
Some reports indicate otherwise, quoting 50 million Americans as food-insecure – which doesn’t mean they are malnourished or starving, but lacking access to nutritious food, sometimes not knowing where there next meal is going to come from.
This situation contributes to illness in children, as well as physical, academic and social problems both early on in life and during adult years. There is even evidence to suggest the stress it causes amongst parents can contribute further to the problems experience by children who are food-insecure.
Do you think food stamp cuts are really as harmless as they’re being made to sound?
Image: Clementine Gallot via Flickr