Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2013
— The American Public Health Association strongly opposes legislation being considered today in the U.S. House of Representatives that would cut $39 billion from farm bill nutrition programs over 10 years. The Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act, H.R. 3102, targets funding for programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and SNAP-Education.
“Cutting funding from SNAP and SNAP-Education will deny up to 4 million low-income individuals access to the benefits of adequate, nutritious food and education about healthy options,” said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “Nutrition and anti-hunger efforts must be a priority and resources that improve the public’s health must be maintained.”
Addressing food insecurity and hunger, SNAP provides nutrition benefits to low-income Americans, including children and those with disabilities. SNAP-Education offers resources to encourage healthy choices and lifestyles for families and children receiving SNAP benefits.
In a letter APHA sent to members of Congress this week, Benjamin wrote, “Cutting nutrition programs is short-sighted and any short-term savings will be far outweighed by the long-term costs to the nation’s health.”
Inadequate nutrition has been linked to children’s poor school performance and developmental delays, and adults’ increased risk of chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
“Adequate funding for SNAP, SNAP-Ed and other important nutrition programs is critical to reducing these impacts and improving the public’s health,” Benjamin wrote. “We strongly urge you to reject this bill and to instead work to develop a bipartisan farm bill reauthorization that ensures all those in need have access to adequate and nutritious food.”
For more about APHA, visit www.apha.org.