Cuts to SNAP Are Detrimental to the Health of America's Poor — Statement from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Glenna McCollum
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CHICAGO - As of November 1, 47 million Americans, who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have less to spend on food to feed their families. The decreased funds are a result of the expiration of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was enacted to stimulate the economy and help those in need. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the reduction in benefits will equate to 21 fewer meals per month.
In the face of these disappointing cuts, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its registered dietitian nutritionist members remain committed to reducing food insecurity and its resulting detrimental impact on the health of families. Access to food is a basic and fundamental human right, and the Academy believes systematic and sustained actions are needed to achieve food and nutrition security for all.
These actions include adequate funding for and increased utilization of food and nutrition assistance programs (like those in SNAP), inclusion of food and nutrition education in such programs, and innovative programs to promote and support individual and household economic self sufficiency.
Although there is economic recovery being reported, many Americans still struggle to feed their families. These are families in which parents often work two or more low-income jobs. Weakening a food safety net for millions of Americans – half of whom are children – will only exacerbate their struggle.
As Congress discusses the fate of the Farm Bill, SNAP could be subjected to even deeper cuts. SNAP provides basic food assistance to those in need, and acts as a buffer against the devastating effects of hunger and malnutrition. Hunger and disrupted food access are associated with poor health outcomes and costly chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Cutting funding to vital nutrition and food assistance programs will increase hunger and lead to increased health care spending, two things that we cannot afford.
All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy’s Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. To locate a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.