American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Screening for Childhood Hunger

Nationwide sixteen million children live in food insecure homes. Childhood hunger contributes to poorer health, increased hospitalizations, and behavioral and emotional problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy urging pediatricians to:

  • Screen all patients for food insecurity
  • Refer patients in need to the appropriate support agencies

As reported in The New York Times:

The academy’s new policy also encourages pediatricians to familiarize themselves with local food banks and federal nutrition programs.

“If you think about meeting families where they are, they are in schools and in doctors’ offices,” said Melissa Boteach, a vice president of the poverty-to-prosperity program at the Center for American Progress. “Having pediatricians connect them to resources they need could really have a big impact.”

The academy said that pediatricians might identify hungry children with a screening tool that posed two questions to parents: whether, in the last year, they worried that their food would run out before they had money to buy more, and whether the groceries they bought lasted until they had more money available to buy more.

The answers to these questions identify 97 percent of families that are insecure about food, said Erin R. Hager, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who helped validate the tool.

For more information read the full article in The New York Times and the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement.

A session on childhood hunger will be held at MACo’s Winter Conference on Thursday, December 10, 2015 from 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm. The session, “Maryland’s Disconnected Youth: The Impact of Jails, Jobs, Homelessness and Hunger,” will discuss the impact of these issues on Maryland youths, and how state and local programs are providing programs to help. To learn more about this session and our conference, themed “Mission: Public Safety,” please view the MACo Winter Conference Registration Brochure.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.