Posts Tagged ‘ food stamps ’

Fathers’ Role in Food Security Studied Amid Food Stamp Cuts

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Dads who don’t live with their children but are involved in their lives may be helping their kids achieve better food security, researchers at Rutgers University have found.  The findings come in the wake of a reduction in food stamp funding that affected 47 million Americans in November.  More from the university:

The new research, published this month by Lenna Nepomnyaschy, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, in Social Service Review has found that nonresident father involvement in a child’s life is positively associated with lower food insecurity in both early and middle childhood. Involvement could include time spent with the child, monetary contributions and “in kind” support, such as treats, gifts and payment of medical or childcare expenses. In particular, in kind support resulted in a 10 to 12 percent reduction in food insecurity for children.

“These results add to mounting evidence that nonresident father involvement, outside of the formal child support system, positively affects children and must be considered in policy discussions related to child support, child poverty and child well-being,” says Nepomnyaschy.

Research on food insecurity for children is especially timely, as 47 million food stamp recipients in the U.S. received a $5 billion reduction in November. And Congress is preparing to cut even more out of the nutrition program. Lawmakers are currently finalizing a federal farm bill which is likely to reduce food stamp benefits by $8.7 billion over the next decade.

“As families lose food stamps, any resources a father provides become even more important,” Nepomnyaschy said. ”Men overwhelmingly want to contribute to the well-being of their children, and child support alone may not increase food security. If a woman is on welfare, the state takes her child support to reimburse the cost for welfare, rather than it benefiting the child.”

Using two nationally representative longitudinal panel data sets from the Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics which followed children through early and middle childhood and assessed economic stability and food insecurity in the home, the researchers found this trend to be consistent across both sets of data.

“For vulnerable families, fathers’ contributions of time and material resources have a positive effect on food security,” Nepomnyaschy said. ”Having in kind support may help the mother to reallocate her resources to provide more food for the household. The father’s visits may reduce her stress and enhance her parenting, providing her the resources and time to grocery shop and cook meals.”

More than 1 in 10 children in the U.S. experience food insecurity, and children in single-mother families are at greatest risk, being three times as likely to not get enough food, than children in two-parent families.

Image: Father and children, via Shutterstock

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Report: 1 in 8 Low-Income Parents Waters Down Formula

Friday, January 20th, 2012

As many as 15 percent of parents who struggle to make ends meet add water to their babies’ formula, using “formula stretching” to get more out of their infant food purchases, a new study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics has found.

The study followed Cincinnati families who qualify for federal food assistance and free formula through a program called WIC.  MSNBC.com reports that the assistance isn’t enough for many families:

Even though the majority of parents were receiving help through foods stamps and WIC, many did not have enough food to feed their families. In fact, some 65 percent of families ran out of WIC-supplied infant formula most months. And the result, in many cases, was that parents diluted or cut back on formula for their infants.

This kind of formula stretching may have consequences for the infants, Beck said.

“There will be a subset of children who will have what is called ‘failure to thrive,’” Beck explained. “More often, though, the ramifications of this tend to be less visible — problems with cognition and behavior. In some it may lead to obesity later in life.”

While some might point to breast feeding as a solution, not every mom is in the position to do this for her child. In some jobs it’s virtually impossible to express milk during the day when a mom is away from her baby.

“Clearly, we encourage and actively support breastfeeding,” Beck said. “The reality is that a relatively low percentage of our patients breastfeed by the time they reach us.  If they do, we continue to encourage it and have a breastfeeding clinic if they need it.  Although they likely wouldn’t require formula, we need to do education and a nutritional assessment for mom.  Also, as the first year progresses, even fewer families continue to nurse.”

Image: Baby bottle, via Shutterstock

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