Expand and Reform: SNAP should focus on children’s nutrition

Expand and Reform: SNAP should focus on children’s nutrition

September 30, 2013

Saturday’s editorial, “SNAP sustains area families” shows how SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) can be win-win-win.

Good for recipients, local farmers, and the public who benefit from better overall health, especially in young children. And, it is proof positive that Republican efforts to gut SNAP are misguided.

At the same time, buried beneath the Republican negative rhetoric, is an idea that makes real sense.  Recently, Rep. Phil Roe, (R-Tenn.) proposed legislation requiring recipients using federal food stamps to buy only healthful food. Currently, SNAP allows purchases of what I consider to be “junk food:”  sugary drinks, empty calorie snacks, high fat and high sodium processed foods — all of which lead to diabetes, childhood and adult obesity, and a myriad of other health risks.

Roe’s plan is straight forward:  SNAP would meet the same guidelines the Women, Infants and Children program already has in place. WIC guidelines are strict, made up of several different standards for products like breakfast cereal, milk, vegetables, peanut butter and other foods.

A very high percentage of SNAP recipients are school age children. Just as we have overhauled the school lunch program, we need to do our best to ensure that children have the most nutritious diet possible. The research overwhelming shows that healthy childhood eating corresponds with more positive engagement in school.

Alas, Roe’s proposal is unlikely to pass.  So far, the “junk food” lobby has consistently and successfully blocked initiatives like Roe’s. But we can do something.  Tell your Congressman–Democrat or Republican–to support The Healthy Food Choices Act, H.R. 3073.

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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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