African American Physicians: Cuts in Food Stamps Are Detrimental to the Health of African Americans and the Underserved

The National Medical Association states that cutting the Food Stamp program known as SNAP is a reprehensible act by Congress that will have a devastating effect on African Americans and other Minorities as we approach the Winter of 2014.

Silver Spring, MD, November 17, 2013 --( The National Medical Association (NMA), representing 35,000 African American physicians, denounces the action taken last week by the U.S. Congress to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $39 billion. SNAP provides food stamps to 48 million adults and 22 million children. In practical terms, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a family of four that depends on food stamps will lose 21 meals per month. Previous studies have shown that 90 percent of African American children in the United States have benefited from food stamps at one point or another in their lives. One in four African American households faces food insecurity, and makes up about 23% of food stamp recipients.

Dr. Michael A. LeNoir, the 114th NMA President, is concerned about the long-term impact of these reductions to food stamp recipients. “As physicians, we recognize how important good nutrition is for good health. Too often in poor and underserved neighborhoods, access to fresh quality foods is non-existent. Even the supermarkets and grocery stores that settled in these areas may have to close because of this last round of cuts in the food stamp program,” said LeNoir. “America could pay much more than $39 billion to treat the increased incidence of heart disease and diabetes that the reductions in the food programs would bring.”

The National Medical Association is working with its partners in the African American community on legislation to reverse these cuts and help restore funding for the food stamp program. Their membership is joining with other organizations to inform the public on how they are invested in feeding hungry families, especially children.

“As we move toward the winter and into the coldest months of the year, we are asking our doctors to step up their efforts to assist available food safety nets. No one in this country; with all of the resources available to us, should go to bed hungry,” continued LeNoir.

Founded in 1895, the National Medical Association (NMA) is the nation’s oldest and largest medical association representing the interests of more than 35,000 African American physicians and their patients. The NMA repeatedly advocates for policies that would assure equitable and quality health care for all people.
National Medical Association
Carla Welborn