Every day pediatric health providers use immunizations to protect children from diseases that make them sick, damage their brains, and may even threaten their lives. The right immunizations in the right doses at the right time save untold health and education dollars, not to mention personal anguish and pain. Hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. also endanger the bodies and brains of millions of children. What is the right immunization to decrease a young child’s risk of ill health and slow learning? Adequate, healthy food.
For 47 years American ingenuity has made that treatment efficiently available to millions of families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program), America’s strongest defense against hunger and food insecurity. About 50 percent of children in the United States are expected to live in households receiving SNAP at some point in their childhood.2 Protecting the availability and enhancing the dosage of this widely used pediatric “vaccine” should be a major public health priority.
A new research report by Children’s HealthWatch, The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health, finds that SNAP significantly decreases family and child food insecurity. The analysis also showed that compared to children who are likely eligible but not receiving SNAP, children receiving SNAP were less likely to be underweight or at risk for developmental delays. The medical evidence shows that SNAP is an effective vaccine for supporting the healthy minds and bodies of our future leaders–our children.