Pediatricians Promote Food Security for All Children

June 17, 2016

"16 million (21%) of American children live in households without consistent access to adequate food." The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a powerful paper this month addressing the effect food insecurity has on childhood health and developmental outcomes. They indicate that "the inability to consistently provide food creates stress in families, contributing to depression, anxiety and toxic stress which make optimal parenting difficult." Ultimately, children in food insecure households are more prone to illness, have higher rates of hospitalization and recover more slowly. Food insecurity is also linked to lower levels of bone density, disregulated behavior, lower cognitive indicators and emotional distress.The paper goes on to encourage Pediatricians to be aware of and advocate for funding (at a state and federal level) strategies that mitigate the effects of food insecurity including SNAP, WIC, National School Lunch and Breakfast, Summer Food Service Programs and supporting local food pantries and meal sites.