A Remedy for Food Insecurity

To the Editor:

Re “Limiting Food Stamp Choices Can Help Fight Obesity,” by Aaron E. Carroll (The Upshot, Sept. 27):

Food insecurity, like any serious illness, threatens the health and development of our children. It’s also costly. Research from Children’s HealthWatch, a nonpartisan network of pediatricians and public health researchers, has shown that food insecurity among families with children under 4 cost the United States $1.2 billion in health-related expenditures in 2015 alone.

Reducing food stamp benefits is not the answer to fighting obesity or lifting thousands of children out of food insecurity. Though incentives and restrictions may aid in the fight, there are other important considerations.

It is critical that we increase these benefits to a level that matches the realistic cost of a sustainable healthful diet for families experiencing food insecurity, and that we fill the gap for those who do not qualify for benefits but who still struggle to put food on the table.

That’s the kind of “hand up” that will make the difference for families who need it most and give them the opportunity to lead active, healthy lives.



The writer is co-principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center.

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