Hunger, poverty and economic insecurity are a toxic mix for America’s low-income families – with an especially harsh impact on children.
More and more families throughout this decade have been struggling against stagnant wages, shrinking government supports, and rising costs for food, energy, housing and health care. Living below poverty puts tremendous strains on a household, giving families barely enough money to put enough food on the table to feed themselves and their children. Nutrition research shows that as income goes down, the nutritional adequacy of the household’s diet goes down as well.
The federal nutrition programs play a critical part in providing economic security. The SNAP/Food Stamp program has grown substantially in recent years and become the government’s most important economic support program for the non-elderly poor, as well as the first line of defense against hunger. In fact, government data show that SNAP/Food Stamp benefits are the single most effective program in lifting children out of extreme poverty (defined as family income below 50 percent of the poverty line).
Hunger is a condition of poverty. Ending hunger in this country requires an ongoing, integrated approach: