“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) opposes the $4 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) included in the Farm Bill (S. 954) that passed the Senate this evening. At a time when nearly one in four children lives in poverty, SNAP plays a crucial role helping millions of low-income families alleviate child hunger and afford access to nutritious foods. Any cuts to the program—especially those included in the Senate’s bill, which would cause an estimated 500,000 households to see their SNAP benefits cut by an average of $90 per month—would hurt the health of our country’s economy and its children.
“Despite the support of SNAP, one in six children still lives in a family that can’t afford adequate food. Food insecurity has wide-ranging and severe health consequences for children; inadequate nutrition stunts growth and development, and infants and toddlers from food insecure families are 90% more likely to be in poor health. Children who come to school hungry suffer consequences in the classroom as well: Chronically malnourished children are at risk for learning problems and developmental delays, have more behavioral problems in school, and have poorer academic performances than those who have access to healthy diets.
“SNAP is the nation’s largest child nutrition program, serving nearly one in three children in the United States. This program helps lift children out of poverty by helping their families afford access to the kinds of foods they need to grow and thrive. In fact, SNAP reduced the number of children living in extreme poverty by half in 2011. This program works for children, especially during times of economic hardship. In this context, the $4 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years included in the Senate’s Farm Bill represents a disconnect from the reality of how the program is working to keep children and their families healthy and economically stable.
“Seventy-two percent of SNAP beneficiaries are in families with children. If the cuts included in the Senate Farm Bill take effect, children will suffer disproportionately. As both chambers of Congress work to pass a comprehensive Farm Bill, AAP calls on its 60,000 pediatrician members to urge their elected leaders to protect SNAP and the 22 million children it serves.”
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)