SNAP Challenge: A Lesson on Nutrition and Poverty

Tags: Food & Shelter, cory booker, food stamps, hunger, obesity, poverty, snap, snap challenge

Oh, SNAP! Newark mayor, Cory Booker, is doing the SNAP Challenge to help educate locals on what it's like to live off of food stamps (SNAP) for a whole week and raise awareness about poverty. We're looking forward to doing the challenge, too. But this challenge is also a lesson on health and nutrition. 

Yesterday, Booker was starting to feel hunger pangs as he bounced from meeting to meeting - and in one case, had to confront the onslaught of sugary sweets at a bakery. That led one commenter on his post to ask: Why are poor people obese? 

There is a big misunderstanding around food, poverty, nutrition and obesity. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to explain: 

  1. You can buy more calories in processed foods like chips and cookies than you can with vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins. 
  2. We subsidize the crops that make unhealthy foods. 

As Mike Pollan writes in the New York Times

“Compared with a bunch of carrots, a package of Twinkies is a highly complicated, high-tech piece of manufacture, involving no fewer than 39 ingredients, many themselves elaborately manufactured, as well as the packaging and a hefty marketing budget. So how can the supermarket possibly sell a pair of these synthetic cream-filled pseudo-cakes for less than a bunch of roots? [...]

The Twinkie is basically a clever arrangement of carbohydrates and fats teased out of corn, soybeans and wheat — three of the five commodity crops that the farm bill supports, to the tune of some $25 billion a year."

We may not have to worry about the Twinkie anymore, but it's important to be aware of the economics of food. It's a very large, complex problem that community members have to solve together. 

Hopefully, when we do the SNAP Challenge, we can help answer questions on poverty, health and nutrition. We commend Booker on taking this on and being very open about his process.  

What do think about it? Would you do the challenge? 


Tertiary care is specialized consultative health care, usually for inpatients and on referral from a primary or secondary health professional, in a facility that has personnel and facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment, such as a tertiary referral hospital. Thanks.

Systematic activities to prevent or cure health problems and promote good health in humans are undertaken by health care providers. Applications with regard to animal health are covered by the veterinary sciences. Thanks. Regards,

There are many activities that can be used to teach children about good nutrition. Some involve listening and learning about healthy food choices, but others involve student interaction. Additionally, learning about nutrition is important because children eat daily and make decisions about what they put in their bodies regularly. Thanks. Regards,

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