Every day pediatric health providers use immunizations to protect children from diseases that make them sick, damage their brains, and may even threaten their lives. Hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. also endanger the bodies and brains of millions of children. What is the right immunization to decrease a young child's risk of ill health and slow learning? Adequate, healthy food.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is America's strongest defense against hunger and food insecurity, helping families afford adequate, healthy food. A new report by Children's HealthWatch shows that, like a vaccine, SNAP protects young children's food security, health, and development. Compared to young children in families who were likely eligible but not receiving SNAP, young children in families receiving SNAP were less likely to
- live in food-insecure households and be food insecure themselves
- be underweight
- at risk of developmental delays
These findings demonstrate SNAP's important role in supporting good health in early childhood. To help children reach their potential, be successful in school, and prepared for the competitive global job market, we must:
- Preserve SNAP's flexible benefit structure, which serves all who are eligible
- Maintain and improve benefit levels
- Calculate future benefit levels using the Low-Cost Food Plan to more closely match the cost of a healthy diet.
Read the report: The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health.