The AAP has urged the country’s pediatricians to screen every patient for food insecurity and refer parents to the right agencies to ensure that kids don’t go hungry. The US Department of Agriculture has recently estimated that a minimum of 14% of American households were food insecure in 2014. On the other hand, this Friday, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians practicing in the country to screen each one of their patients for food insecurity and refer parents to the right agencies so that the little ones don’t go hungry.
The country’s Agriculture Department reported that recently obtained statistics suggest that as many as 16 million children stay in homes that don’t have enough food consistently. Those kids fall ill more often compared to their adequately nourished peers. The kids staying in homes that don’t have sufficient supply of food also possess poorer overall health and need to be hospitalized more frequently than peers who are well fed.
Some experts also link food insecurity with emotional and behavioral problems in children belonging to an age group ranging from preschool to adolescence.
Mariana Chilton, director of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities, said that food insecurity is strongly linked with growing number of hospitalizations among kids as well as poor childhood health and development. Dr. Chilton added that in spite of the fact that the issue is one of the most prominent signs of a kid’s health and wellbeing, it has been extremely difficult to make the entire pediatrician community understand the importance of focusing on food insecurity.
When discussing about this subject Dr. Chilton, one of the principal investigators with Children’s HealthWatch, stated that very few pediatricians study childhood hunger. For those who don’t know: Children’s HealthWatch is a national network that work to track the effects of different public assistance programs on the country’s overall pediatric health.
AAP president Dr. Sandra Hassink reported that right now the country is battling a nutritional crisis. She added that it’s not possible to fight such a critical situation without changing old habits.
Dr. Hassink said that after comprehending this need, pediatricians in the US are working to connect families to appropriate resources and urging them to strengthen nutrition programs such as SNAP and WIC. She feels that educators, government leaders, parents, and pediatricians will have to work together for ensuring that not a single American child goes hungry.