By reducing poverty and food insecurity, SNAP can have lasting effects on children’s health and development. As a recent Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) report describes, research links food insecurity to various negative health outcomes, such as increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Living in food-insecure households is also linked with negative behavioral, social, and academic outcomes. For example, a study examining the national rollout of food stamps in the 1960s and 1970s found that children who had access to SNAP in utero or early childhood had better health in adulthood — including lower rates of stunted growth, heart disease, and obesity — as well as higher rates of high school completion.
Another study found that test scores among students in SNAP households are highest for those receiving benefits two to three weeks before the test, suggesting that SNAP can help students learn and prepare for tests. Short-term academic outcomes, in turn, are linked with longer-term outcomes in education and employment.
Source: Center for Budget & Policy Priorities, 12/11/15