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September 13, 1995

Experts Debate Food Stamp Revision

JAMA. 1995;274(10):781-783. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100015004

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IF POOR PEOPLE can't buy enough food to eat, let them eat food supplements. So says a bill before Congress that would allow those who receive food stamps to use them for buying vitamins and minerals.

While supported by the food supplement industry and a minority of nutrition experts, the move to change the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Stamp Program is opposed by many health leaders and organizations that monitor hunger in the nation's children.

Among the opposition are the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association (AHA), USDA, and Food Research and Action Center, a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating hunger and under-nutrition in the United States.

Proponents of House bill HR 1997 (formerly HR 236)—which seeks to amend the definition of food in the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to include vitamin and mineral supplements—argue that, in the interest of better health, poor people should

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