Policy Briefs

Food for Thought: Food insecurity undermines learning outcomes and academic success

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays a critical role in reducing the harmful effects of food insecurity and helping lift children and families out of poverty. However, on October 5, 2017, shortly after the 40th anniversary of the implementation of SNAP, the House passed a budget resolution that would cut $150 billion from anti-poverty programs including SNAP. These budget cuts place nearly half of the children in the United States already living in low-income households at risk of malnutrition and food insecurity.

A recent study by Mary McKay, dean of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, found that SNAP participation played a significant role in promoting better academic outcomes for children experiencing nutritional deprivation, particularly in lowering the risk of repeating a grade. The next policy brief in a three-part Child Well-Being series from the Clark-Fox Policy Institute reveals that further funding cuts could have dire consequences on children’s long-term ability to succeed academically and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Food for Thought is the second in a series of three policy briefs that focus on child well-being and educational outcomes.