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Dietary Supplements and SNAP

Washington, the Coronavirus and the Natural Industry Washington, the Coronavirus and the Natural Industry

Nutrition Industry Executive (NIE) magazine asked Daniel Fabricant, PhD, CEO and president of the Washington, D.C.-based Natural Products Association (NPA), the following question:

NIE: With thousands of cars lining up at food distribution locations throughout the U.S. during this pandemic, food insecurity has been shown as a deeply serious problem in this country, possibly more widespread than anyone could have predicted. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act of 2019 was introduced. Is there a realistic way forward for dietary supplements and SNAP?

Fabricant: Senators and Representatives such as these understand the importance of including dietary supplements under SNAP. While families receiving SNAP benefits have a variety of health choices through this program, the option to include a multivitamin in their daily diet would provide beneficiaries the access to essential nutrients and minerals not obtained from food consumption.

There are 13 million American children living in food-insecure households, expanding programs like SNAP to cover vitamin and mineral supplements would prove to be beneficial to their overall health.

In a country as developed as the United States, vitamin and mineral deficiency should not be as prevalent as they have been reported to be. The CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) “Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population” reported that about 10 percent of the population had nutritional deficiencies, which could be as high as one third of certain populations.

There is a wealth of literature supporting multivitamins as a safe and affordable way to obtain adequate levels of essential nutrients for groups such as these that are at risk for deficiencies in essential nutrients and minerals.

Yes, there is a realistic path forward for dietary supplements and SNAP. But members of the United States Congress need to come together and understand that there needs to be a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle which includes dietary supplements.