Food Insufficiency - Too Many Children Go Hungry

In America, 1 in 6 children may not know where they will get their next meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks this information. You may not know unless you ask parents about it.  Children without a stable supply of food may develop serious health problems. They may have poor growth and development. They may develop behavior difficulties. They may have frequent illnesses and hospitalizations. Some have iron deficiency anemia. 

Food insecurity increases a child’s risk of obesity. Many families can’t afford to purchase fruits and vegetables that help keep a healthy weight. Inexpensive food is often high in fat and calories. Lack of physical activity and high levels of stress increase the risk of obesity too.

Ask parents if you are concerned about whether they are giving their child healthful food. Offer local resources to help. Currently, a government program feeds over half of American children sometime during childhood. This program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It was previously known as food stamps.

The Feeding America website has information about SNAP and local food banks at http://feedingamerica.org/. For county-specific statistics, visit Map the Meal Gap. The link is
https://www.feedingamerica.org/sites/default/files/research/map-the-meal-gap/2016/overall/PA_AllCounties_CDs_MMG_2016.pdf 
Please share this ECELS Health Capsule with everyone who works with programs for families with young children. Libby Ungvary, MEd, ECELS Director Updated 4-2019.