July 13, 2017
Government programs still provide way too much support to buy junk food for the poor. It's unhealthy and a waste of money. The medical industry is working to change that.
Junk food can contribute significantly to poverty. People who don't eat well can suffer cognitive impairment, mood swings and disease.
Children who eat junk food are likely to eat junk food as adults, have a greater chance of being poor and sick and pass the poverty on to their children.
So, why does the federal government encourage the poor to consume junk food that will make them dumb and sick and unable or unwilling to work?
The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution on June 13 that calls on the federal government to improve the healthfulness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.
SNAP keeps some poor people poor by giving them money to buy junk food instead of food that is nutritious.
The resolution, which was co-introduced by the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American College of Cardiology, “requests that the federal government (1) support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) initiatives to incentivize healthful foods and disincentivize or eliminate unhealthful foods and (2) harmonize SNAP food offerings with those of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).”
During the AMA House of Delegates meeting in Chicago on June 11, Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., testified on behalf of the resolution.
“Economically disadvantaged patients are at the highest risk diabetes, obesity, and other serious problems. A big part of the solution ought to come from SNAP. One in seven Americans participates in SNAP, and if the program filled their grocery carts with vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes, it would go a long way for health,” said Dr. Barnard in his testimony. “But SNAP retailers are paid dollar-for-dollar for candy, energy drinks, sausage, cheese, and other products no one needs.”
Dr. Barnard and Yale University’s David Katz, M.D., recently edited the “The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s Role in Addressing Nutrition-Related Health Issues,” a special supplement of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.