Children’s HealthWatch Co-Principal Investigators wrote a letter to Pediatrics addressing misconceptions about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its impact on children’s nutritional status.

RE: Press Surrounding ‘Associations of Food Stamp Participation With Dietary Quality and Obesity in Children’

“As pediatric and public health researchers we are concerned about the press surrounding the March 2013 Pediatrics publication ‘Associations of the Food Stamp Program with Dietary Quality and Obesity in Children’ by Leung et al. The article makes important contributions to understanding the impact of SNAP (formerly food stamps, now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), however, press reports, including one summary in AAP’s SmartBrief, characterized the findings inaccurately with the headline ‘Food Stamps Don’t Help Improve Nutrition for Children’.

In fact, Leung et al. found in a national sample of 5000+ low-income children age 4-19 that SNAP receipt was associated with small but statistically significant odds of improved intakes of water and 3 key micronutrients – calcium, folate, and iron – all essential for children’s bone, cognitive, and neurodevelopmental health, but are insufficient in the diets of many. The authors also found that SNAP participation was not associated with increased macronutrient intake, overweight or obesity.”