Doctors Demand Feds Stop Giving The Poor Junk Food

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.

Garbage in garbage out.

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.

In the supplement, Dr. Barnard recommended that SNAP incorporate a Healthy Staples program mod­eled after WIC. SNAP would only reimburse retailers for selling healthful foods. They would stop profiting from selling their customers disease-causing junk foods. SNAP retailers would instead offer a range of healthful plant-based foods (with preparation tips and easy meal ideas): grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, pasta, and tortillas; fresh, frozen, or low-sodium canned vegetables; dry or low-sodium canned beans; fruit, and basic multiple vitamins.