SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, are linked to improved health outcomes and lower healthcare costs, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Brynne Keith-Jennings, a senior research analyst at the center, tells us some of the studies cited in the paper used data going back to the ’60s when the food-stamp program began. Keith-Jennings notes that those studies found long-term health benefits.
“Children who grew up in counties with food stamps grew up to be healthier than those who didn’t. They were less likely to have, for example, metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of diseases like heart disease.”
About 70% of SNAP participants are in families with children, and a quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. Other studies have shown that those who receive benefits are more likely to stay on top of their prescription medications, and Keith-Jennings fears cuts would force more people to have to choose between food and medicine.