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A Nation Malnourished

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Not since the Great Depression has a nation so relentlessly pushed a class of society to being so destitute. A nation so impoverished are now becoming so malnourished as well. It is the poor, our newfound majority of citizens who find themselves waiting in line at soup kitchens all across this nation. The land of plenty is no more. Not only are these citizens who are finding it almost impossible to make ends meet are lining up by the millions to receive food stamps just so that they can "keep the wolves at bay" sort of speaking. Who would have thought even 20 years ago more and more of our American citizens face each day with a most daunting task of finding ways to put food on the table. That's if you still manage to have your own table.

Our nation today has one of the highest rates of obesity, malnutrition, diabetes, and a whole slew of other diseases and aliments associated with the lack of proper nutrition. Not only that, more and more now lack the available resources to purchase the right balance of food and the knowledge to make those healthy lifestyle choices. It is quite obvious when one steps into the local supermarket they quickly become aware that food prices have risen by more than 50% just within this past year. In many instances items like milk, meat and poultry prices have reached the stratosphere. When food stamps were gutted this past year while food prices have only soared have left an endurable mark on this nations poor. More are now becoming so destitute where the basis of life's necessities have been striped away by those bureaucratic members of indifference in Washington just so they can say they have done their part in trimming the all to important budget. The perpetual cycle of poverty continues.

Our new found poor are swept up in this cycle where the availability of healthy nutrition is no longer an option but now it is a matter of survival. Studies have long indicated that the poor is the class of the population that make fast food restaurants their personal grocery store. What the economic climate has done for the past decade is actually promoting and securing fast food restaurants place as one of two business entities that continues to thrive. Yet, other businesses that cater to the poor like Walmart and Kmart where prices seem to be the lowest and locations are most convenient all contribute to the increasing numbers of poor by the way their employees are paid. Even with the rising tide of fast food and Walmart workers seeking minimum wage increases places like Seattle where the state of Washington just passed a new minimum wage law that starts at $15 per hour still is not enough to keep pace with the increasing costs of food. The downside to all this is that to many children are raised in households where they are fortunate just to receive any amount of low quality food. A domino effect has already started; when children are not receiving healthy nutritious food with vitamin supplements undermines their ability to succeed in school. When that happens they are now more prone drop out, an increase in crime results, and they succumb to the ailments and diseases all because of the lack of proper nutrition. As adults the continued cycle of poverty only continues.

The current policy in the Food Stamp Act now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allows food stamp users to buy items like soda, candy and chips but not hot prepared food that is sold in grocery stores. A form of hypocrisy here. Some states, though they are but a few have tried to help that class of society that has become so impoverished. These states are now allowing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients use their benefits in such establishments as Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut. At least this way with so many people who are on this program that don't have a secure place where they can actually store or prepare food now have a place to go. From a business point of view this makes perfect sense and would put an end to the hypocritical way the SNAP is stipulating where and what can be brought with food stamps. Another major concern is that the SNAP program has now become so under funded the entire nation is at grave health risk. Today to many recipients run out of funds before the month is out and without means available so often go hungry. Ever since the Food Stamp program and now the SNAP have been around areas where there is more low income residents the stores that are accessible have continually raised prices because they know that most individuals are using food stamps. It is no wonder that by the end of the month so many individuals end up in soup kitchens or worse doing whatever it takes in order to eat.

In order to increase the chances that those who are receiving food stamps manage to get basic nutritious food changes have to be made.These changes would allow food stamp recipients purchase prepared food where ever sold. The United States must increase funding with certain common sense guidelines on the types of food one can purchase. These changes would be a major first step in reducing the increasing numbers of children and adults not getting the proper nutrition needed to live a healthy life. Least we forget the original purpose of Food Stamps and now SNAP is to felicitate the appropriation of funds to individuals and families who need a helping hand in obtaining nutritious food. Sure at first many took advantage of this program but now with so many who find themselves propelled into financial situations where that helping hand would be that difference between eating or not is the new reality today. We are faced with the fact that food prices continue to thwart an individual or a families ability to procure the proper food that is both beneficial and nutritious. Critical shortages of finances along with the ever rising costs of food today is making it essential for all those who find themselves financially strapped to rely on food stamps issued by the SNAP. The number of people falling into financial difficulties are only increasing every year.

A reform of guidelines has to take place to keep pace with the ever increasing enrollment into the SNAP. Ones that will make it easier for individuals to have the availability and the means to procure the necessary food allotments that are both beneficial and nutritious while keeping pace with the inflationary trend of consumables. Already elementary and secondary public educational school systems are now introducing innovative food choices that are both nutritious and beneficial for both school lunches and now even in some schools students that qualify receive free breakfasts as well. This signals an attempt at educating our youth on the importance of good nutrition. The same thing needs to be outlined for all SNAP recipients where the choices that they make in purchasing food will determine future increased allotments of funding into their SNAP accounts. This to keep pace with the rising costs of nutritious food.

With today's slash and cut state and federal budgets mentality of our legislatures has only intensified the need for so many to apply for SNAP assistance. With this resurgence of so many seeking financial aid the federal government now has a responsibility through the SNAP to see that, like the Hippocratic oath states "first do no more harm," our needy citizens will have enough resources available to actually be able to acquire the basic food that is both nutritious and beneficial. The long term affects of not reforming the guidelines of the food stamp program to keep pace with the increasing numbers who now qualify for assistance and restoring more funding into SNAP will only create more debt for this country by the ever increasing health and crime related problems associated with a nation that has become so malnourished.

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