Children’s HealthWatch, a network of pediatricians, public health researchers and children’s health and policy experts committed to improving children’s health in the United States, has recently released a Report Card on Food Security & Immigration: Helping Our Youngest First-Generation Americans to Thrive.
The research highlights “the disparities immigrant families with young citizen children experience in the ability to afford enough food, and describes the severity of that deprivation.”
While the majority of infants born to immigrant families in the United States have characteristics that lead to positive health outcomes, such as healthy birth weights and breastfeeding, many families will experience difficulty accessing stable employment, health care and housing. The Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) is our country’s largest child nutrition program, and research shows that children enrolled in the program are more likely to be in good or excellent health, and “live in stable housing potentially due to the additional monetary support the family receives from SNAP.”
CHW’s policy recommendations emphasize maintaining current eligibility for all immigrants with qualifying status to participate in SNAP, reduction of barriers to access, and elimination of the five year waiting period for more recent immigrants.