Pediatricians Urged to Check Children for Signs of Food Insecurity

Food insecurity in American homes currently affects nearly 16 million children, according to USDA data
Pediatricians Urged to Check Children for Signs of Food Insecurity

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has asked the nation’s pediatricians to screen patients for signs of hunger and food insecurity.

On the heels of a stern warning from the American Academy of Pediatrics that no amount of alcohol is safe for expectant mothers, the AAP has also urged pediatricians to do their part against child hunger, an issue which affects an estimated 16 million children in the United States, according to the USDA.

Among the AAP’s findings on food insecurity, the group found that children who live in homes with even the lowest level of food shortage “get sick more often, recover more slowly from illness, have poorer overall health, and are hospitalized more frequently.” Malnutrition was also tied to lower bone density in preadolescent boys, and health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

“We are in the midst of a nutritional crisis in our country, and when you’re in a crisis, you can’t keep doing what you've always done,” said AAP president Sandra Hassink.

“That's why pediatricians are taking a comprehensive approach, connecting families to resources and advocating to keep federal nutrition programs like WIC and SNAP strong. It will take all of us — pediatricians, parents, government leaders, educators — partnering together, to do our best to ensure that no child goes hungry in this country.”

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