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SNAP Expansion Not Supported by Evidence



SNAP Expansion Not Supported by Evidence

SNAP Expansion Not Supported by Evidence. In a controversial move, Governor Kim Reynolds has chosen to reject expanded SNAP benefits for Iowa children through the Summer EBT program. However, this decision is drawing criticism for being both shameful and lacking a solid evidential foundation.

Lack of Evidence in Decision-Making

Reynolds justified her rejection based on concerns about childhood obesity rates and administrative costs. Contrary to her stance, scientific evidence strongly supports the positive impact of SNAP participation on healthy food consumption, with a notable decrease in the likelihood of obesity (Nguyen et al., 2015).

Questionable Prioritization of Administrative Costs

Despite Reynolds highlighting administrative costs, it’s crucial to note that a significant portion—50%—would have been covered by the federal program. Surprisingly, these costs amount to less than 0.12% of the state’s 2023 FY surplus. The question arises: is a meager 0.12% of the budget surplus worth denying food to hungry children during the extended summer months?

Evidence-Based Alternatives Ignored

If the goal is truly to address childhood obesity, evidence-based strategies exist that could be implemented without jeopardizing food assistance programs. These include increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, enhancing physical education in schools, ensuring access to healthy foods in all neighborhoods, promoting breastfeeding, and making communities more conducive to physical activity.

Political Motivations Over Public Welfare

The refusal to consider evidence-based policies raises questions about Reynolds’ motivations, hinting at a more political agenda. This becomes particularly disconcerting at a time when the demand for food at food banks is rising, and donations are dwindling. The urgency of addressing hungry children transcends political affiliations, emphasizing the need for leadership that prioritizes the well-being of the most vulnerable in society.


In conclusion, Governor Reynolds’ decision to reject expanded SNAP benefits demands a critical reevaluation. The scientific evidence supporting the positive impact of SNAP participation and the minimal impact on administrative costs suggests that a more compassionate approach is needed. The focus should shift towards evidence-based strategies to address childhood obesity, ensuring that the well-being of vulnerable children takes precedence over political considerations.

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