Good nutrition is vitally essential for the healthy growth and development of children. Yet there are more American kids than ever before being threatened by a potential lack of adequate food. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported in Oct. 23, 2015, lack of adequate food is an ongoing health risk for American kids.
Pediatricians across the United States have released a policy statement which has stressed the vital significance of federal, state and local nutrition programs to help in the fight against the immediate and potentially lifelong impact from food insecurity. It is the first time the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that pediatricians screen all kids for food insecurity. It has also been recommended that pediatricians become familiar with and refer families to necessary community resources while also advocating for federal and local policies which support access to adequate, nutritious food.
A new policy statement, “Promoting Food Security for all Children,” has been published in the journal Pediatrics. The most recent data show that greater than 15 million American children are living in households which are struggling with hunger. This is a critical problem in view of the fact that the health effects of hunger on kids are pervasive and long-lasting.
It has been stated in the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement that kids who live in homes that are food insecure, even at the smallest levels, get sick more often, do not recover as quickly from illness, have poorer overall health and are hospitalized more often. Kids and adolescents who are affected by food insecurity are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency. Also malnutrition in early childhood is associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life. A lack of adequate nutritious food can also undermine a child’s ability to concentrate and do well in school and is associated with higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems.
Approximately sixteen million American children, or 21 percent, live in homes without consistent access to adequate food. Pediatricians and other primary care physicians can play a vital role in screening and identifying kids who are at risk for food insecurity and in connecting poor families with necessary community resources. It’s really very sad to see food deprivation among any let alone so many American kids. This is a tragic and inexcusable problem which demands attention from the entire society. Kids need good nutrition to develop naturally well in body and mind.