The consequences, say researchers like Chilton, can be predicted. Over the last decade or so, a large body of science has accumulated on food insecurity’s effects. “We have empirical evidence that SNAP prevents childhood hospitalizations and promotes childhood development,” said Chilton. “This is not advocacy. We know that SNAP cuts will be cutting into the bodies and brains of little kids.”
One long-term nationwide study of more than 20,000 children followed from kindergarten through third grade found that food insecurity predicted academic and social problems in school. The effects could theoretically have been correlation — kids from food-insecure families were, for some reason unrelated to food, more likely to have problems — but the relationship remained when statisticians accounted for other variables.