Much recent research links food insecurity with negative outcomes for children’s health, education, and other areas. Other research shows that programs like SNAP can have large and long-lasting benefits, especially when the benefits are received by mothers during pregnancy and by children at a young age.
A recent study that examines the impact of the rollout of the original Food Stamp Program in the late 1960s shows that receiving Food Stamps during pregnancy reduced the incidence of low birth weight by between five and 12%. The same researchers also found that among adults who grew up in disadvantaged households, access to Food Stamps in utero and early childhood led to: a 16 percentage-point decline in the likelihood of being obese as an adult and significant reductions in metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes); an 18 percentage-point increase in the likelihood of completing high school; and significant improvements in overall health and economic self-sufficiency among women.
Source: Food Research & Action Council, 8/3/16, Food Insecurity Research