BU Today featured Dr. Megan Sandel, Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigator,on raising awareness about the importance of SNAP benefits for vulnerable families with young children.

SNAP Judgment: A week on food stamps shows MED students the program’s limits

In advance of continued congressional debate over whether to cut SNAP, about 15 BU MED students and deans took the SNAP challenge, sponsored by the school’s Student Nutrition Awareness & Action Council. The goal was to raise future doctors’ awareness of the nutritional challenges faced by poor patients.

Fabian Chang (BU MED’16) conceived this “SNAP challenge” for himself and others on the Medical Campus, and during last month’s weeklong regimen “I was able to get enough food,” he says, “but it was definitely difficult to maintain a healthy diet.” And with the expiration of the portion of the Obama stimulus devoted to SNAP, things like coffee were an unaffordable luxury.

“For some of our kids in our clinic, SNAP can be a lifeline,” says Megan Sandel, a MED associate professor and a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center. Some of her patients have had problems ranging from inactivity to disruptive school behavior after their families’ food stamp benefits were cut, she adds.

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