US Pediatricians Suppose to use Screening Tool to prevent Food Insecurity
Oct 26 2015
In a recent policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended that, from this moment on pediatricians should start monitoring children for food insecurity, a measure of healthy food deprivation.
Field trials showed that asking children these two questions was nearly as effective as the 18-question Household Food Security Survey used by the US Department of Agriculture (which administers the food stamp program) and other government agencies to determine food insecurity.
The authors also note that kids who come from food-insecure households have poorer overall health and more hospitalizations compared with kids who come from food-secure households. Mariana Chilton, the director of the Center for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University, said in a statement that it is the right time to take action. "It's been very hard to get the broader pediatrician community to pay attention to food insecurity, and yet it's one of the most important vital signs of a child's health and well-being", said Dr. Chilton. "If a child is food insecure for four years, they are 200 times more likely to suffer from poor health".
Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believe that childhood malnutrition is greatly influenced by kids fretting about the next meal or knowing what hunger really feels like - indications of what is called "food insecurity". In a press release from the group, she declared, "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". In Washington, D.C., while President Barack Obama and Democrats have fought to correct the situation, Republicans have sought various ways to destroy anti-poverty programs they claim are robbing funds they insist belong to corporations and the wealthy despite world organizations ranking America at the top of several lists for neglecting child hunger.
Cook said that his practice was planning on screening for food insecurity using these questions and then linking that to local resources because they can search on patients by geography, by their home address, and then identify or work with food pantries or food assistance programs to target resources in those areas with the highest need. "We can't tell just by looking who is food insecure or not - they look just like you and me".
With the significantly high prevalence of food insecurity among families with children, as well as the identified possible health effects, pediatricians are urged to become aware of the resources that could ease up food insecurity.
The AAP examined data from 2007 to 2014 and found that over 16 million children in the richest nation on Earth live in households that struggle mightily to put food on the table in a consistent manner.
Underemployment, unemployment, and poverty are all problems associated with food insecurity, which has led to chronic hunger becoming a massive issue for families across the country. His practice, Pediatric Alliance, talks about nutritional, dietary and behavioral issues with parents and children - and emphasizes the importance of breakfast.
Thompson hopes that having doctors screen for hunger would take a few of the embarrassment out of seeking help. "It's embarrassing as a parent".