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April 20, 2023 – The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and its role as a nutrition security program with anti-poverty and economic benefits, were showcased by witness testimony during the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry hearing on April 19, 2023, in preparation for the next Farm Bill.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to ensuring that quality nutrition services and nutrition education are integral components of nutrition assistance programs, such as SNAP, and safeguard access to a nourishing, safe, affordable and sustainable food supply. Earlier this month, the Academy submitted recommendations to the committee to advocate for legislation that strengthens these elements and improves the health of the nation.

During the hearing, witnesses emphasized that SNAP is one of the most effective tools to reduce hunger and food insecurity, reaching people with the lowest incomes and most need. Nearly 90% of SNAP participants are in a household that contains at least one child under age 18, an older adult 60 years or older, or a person with a disability it was noted.

The COVID-19 public health emergency provided temporary additional benefits for SNAP participants that have expired and now millions of people in the U.S. are experiencing a large decline in their benefits. Food banks are seeing an increased demand following these cuts and are struggling to keep up, another witness shared.

The Academy is advocating for Congress to pass a Farm Bill that maintains the integrity of nutrition assistance programs, ensures vital funding for nutrition education and nutrition research, and improves marketplace, demand and equitable access to nourishing foods.
The Academy’s key recommendations include:

  1. Support nutrition security and health equity; improve access to healthful and culturally appropriate foods and resources to prepare them.
  2. Create a diverse workforce and ensure sound science and program evaluation for future evidence-based decision making that is grounded in promoting health equity
  3. Support initiatives that foster a healthful and sustainable food system.

Read more about the Academy’s Farm Bill advocacy efforts. Academy members are encouraged to join the monthly policy affinity groups to learn more and get involved.

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