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Given the Diabetes Epidemic, Should Government Limit What People Can Buy With Food Stamps?


Should the Government Limit What People Can Buy with Food Stamps?

Here are a few questions to be addressed:

It is a fact that many poor people, including many who are on food stamps and other government assistance such as Medicaid, HUSKY, etc., are also obese. 

1) Since the government pays for their food and health care, should the government be able to say how those funds should be used?

2) Diabetes is one of the most debilitating illnesses eating up health care dollars.  Obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes.  In order to reduce obesity and diabetes:

a) Should the government be able to put limits on the types of foods people can buy with food stamps?

b) Should the government (through its various service agencies) provide specific nutritional guidelines on how the food stamps should be used?

c) What do you think about a reward system wherein people who spend their food stamp dollars on fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fares, as described in the nutritional guidelines, and who remain healthy, be given more benefits to maintain health? 

3. Could the story related below happen in New Haven, CT?  Please read this article linked below then decide.

4. What, if anything, can be done to effectively reduce the epidemic of obesity,  diabetes and the concommitant health problems, particularly in poor communities?

 “Good teachers always watch for signs of abuse or distress among school children, but in Birmingham, Ala., another problem demands constant vigilance: a lack of adequate nutrition.  The clues aren’t always straightforward. Mary Michael Kelley, director of the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, recalls the case of a third grader who started crying inconsolably during class one morning. After refusing at first to tell her teacher what was wrong, she explained that her dad was in jail and her mom—broke and out of food stamps—had instructed her older sister to steal food from the school cafeteria. The child understood her mom’s dilemma, but she worried her sister would get caught and land in her father’s predicament.”

 Cities Battle Hunger Crisis Where Unhealthy Food Is Everywhere 
MSNBC, Geoffrey Cowley, 06/07/2013 
The food bank has… launched a Weekenders Backpack Program to help schools identify kids who need weekend meals to supplement the ones they get at school. Every week, volunteers pack dried grits, canned meals and fruit leather into pouches distributed through 17 local schools. On Fridays, 2,000 at-risk children take them home to tide them over until Monday. The need for a weekenders program is just one measure of the food crisis facing Central Alabama.

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