Children’s HealthWatch released a statement commenting on the approval by the House of Representatives of a $39 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Children’s HealthWatch Expresses Serious Concerns About Child Harm Resulting From $39 Billion in SNAP Cuts, If House-Approved Proposal Advances

The pediatric researchers at Children’s HealthWatch remain deeply concerned about the health, development and well-being of children, as households across the nation continue to struggle with hunger. We know from scientific evidence that the House vote to cut $39 billion dollars out of the SNAP program was foolhardy and will threaten the future of America’s children (in addition to seniors, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations). Our work and our review of the work of other scientists show that food insecurity, a technical term for the inability to afford enough healthful food, has been tied to short and long-term damage to children’s health, including increased risks of hospitalizations and developmental delays. Peer-reviewed research evidence shows, however, that SNAP helps children to be food secure, in good health, and achieve in school. Targeting the SNAP program for reduction as Congress struggles with the federal budget will lead to many more hungry, sick, and developmentally at risk children, who will have difficulty reaching their potential to contribute in America’s 21st century workforce. Scientific evidence demonstrates that SNAP is an investment in the brains and bodies of our nation’s children from before birth through the school years—an investment that should be enhanced, not curtailed.

Children cannot vote or visit legislators, so their health providers and others in their communities must speak for them. As this debate moves to conference and to the President’s desk, we will continue to provide the evidence supporting a Farm Bill that does not cut SNAP, but supports our children – our future leaders and workforce – and all the people of this country. It is time to put politics aside and fund this evidence-based intervention in child health.