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Know Better, Do Better. Don’t Cut SNAP-Ed Funding

(Dr. Glenna McCollum, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Access to healthy food is a basic human need and a fundamental right of all Americans. This is why we have programs like SNAP providing assistance to low-income populations and resources so they may purchase food to feed their families.
However, as nutrient deficiencies among low-income populations continue to rise, the focus turns to the complexities of food choice. Healthful eating is not intuitive, but rather a learned skill. Navigating the grocery store shelves; deciphering confusing marketing messages, popular trends and nutrition misinformation; understanding ingredient labels and nutrition facts panels; and, possibly most importantly, knowing how to store and cook food properly are all learned skills that make up the foundation for healthful eating. SNAP-Ed is the tool in our belt to help these low-income families learn these skills, take back their kitchen and take back their health.
Our nation is paying the price for overlooking the importance of food and nutrition related diseases. Obesity accounts for 21 percent of total national health care spending, summing to as much as $210 billion annually. Obesity places an enormous financial burden on American families, our economy and our nation’s healthcare system.
Right now the SNAP-Ed nutrition program is available in every state and reaches more than 6 million people, but this is only a small fraction of the 50 million or more citizens who are struggling to eat healthfully on a budget.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.