If the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to restrict access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits goes into effect, millions of Americans — especially children — and local communities would suffer, say nutrition and food policy researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health who have studied the effects of SNAP on the health and well-being of low-income Americans.
SNAP is a government program that helps low-income Americans get food. In 2018, SNAP 39.7 million Americans benefited from SNAP. But experts estimate that 3.1 million people could lose SNAP benefits through a new proposal that would change some application procedures and eligibility requirements.
“Federal research has found that the program reduces hunger, particularly in children — who make up 44 percent of its beneficiaries,” said Dr. Cindy Leung and Dr. Julia Wolfson, assistant professors at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, in an article in The Conversation. “Hunger and poor nutrition harm children’s health and hinder their development. Kids who don’t get enough to eat have more trouble at school and are more likely to experience mental health problems. One research team found that people who had access to SNAP as children earned higher incomes and were less likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes once they grew up.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 02