Currently in the United States, up to 1 in 3 new cases of diabetes diagnosed in youth younger than 18 years old is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). It is estimated that Latino American children born today have a 50% chance of developing T2DM in their lifetime. Because there is a relationship between nutritional patterns and diabetes, governmental programs like SNAP are designed to provide nutrition assistance to low-income households to reduce hunger and improve health and well-being. However, current research suggests that SNAP is actually CAUSING obesity and putting children at risk for diabetes.
A recent study by Texas State University examined the risk factors for early childhood obesity. The study examined social, economic, and nutritional feeding practices for 153 women and their children. The study found that sugar, stress, and participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program had a strong correlation with childhood obesity with a p value of less than .005 and Infants and children from households receiving SNAP benefits were 4.5 times more likely to have children profiling in the 85th percentile or higher in weight.
These findings suggest a need for policy change to strengthen the SNAP program to promote healthier food purchases and discourage the purchases of products that undermine nutritional quality among children. This will prevent tax payers from paying for bad food choices twice: once at the register, and second in Medicare.
Efficacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Obesity in Latino Children