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‘It Is Critical’ for States and Counties to Maintain SNAP Services: Child and Family Policy Expert
For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2020
If you’re looking for an independent source to provide insight and perspective on the impact of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on food security in the United States, child and family policy expert Colleen Heflin is available for an interview.
Heflin is a professor of public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and senior research associate in its Center for Policy Research. Heflin is the author of a new study published in November by researchers from Syracuse University and the University of Kentucky that showed participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduces the risk of premature mortality among U.S. adults.
The study, called “The Effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on Mortality,” was published in the November 2019 issue of “Health Affairs.” Using data from the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research’s National Welfare Database and the Economic Research Service’s SNAP Policy Database, this study is the first to demonstrate a specific link between participation in SNAP and a reduction in risk of death among adults aged 40–64.
For use in your stories, here’s what Heflin says about the importance of the Families First Act and increasing SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“We know from previous research that the risk of food insecurity increases during economic downturns and is connected to local food prices. Given that so many families are currently both losing their jobs while facing increased health care costs and food prices, we can expect to see dramatic increases in food insecurity as a result of the coronavirus.
“The federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to families in times of need. It is critical that states and counties maintain program services and take advantage of the options provided in the Family First Act that expand eligibility for the program to include children who will no longer receive school meals as well as healthy adults without children in the household.
“My own research suggests that SNAP benefits have clear health benefits in terms of both reducing healthcare utilization and excess mortality. Given the serious public health situation that our country is facing, we are fortunate to have a program in place that is already keyed up to help a population whose needs are likely to get even more desperate given current projections.”
Thank you for your consideration. To request an interview with Prof. Heflin or for more information, please contact:
Media Relations Specialist
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