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Food insecurity screening with every physician visit will soon be introduced in the U.S. in a groundbreaking effort to offer children adequate nutrition.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended for the first time on Friday that all physicians question their patients, particularly children or their parents whether they have sufficient food and how often.
On Monday the new policy that envisions food insecurity screening with every physician visit will be vetted by Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. It is a commendable effort to bring adequate nutrition to children and families struggling to put food on the table.
In 2014, a report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that there are an estimated 16 million children across the U.S. who live with food insecurity. Also last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released another report stating that for the first time since 2007, the number of children having sufficient and adequate nutrition is on the rise. However, from 2009 to 2011, the number had dropped drastically.
Food insecurity screening with every physician visit is meant to curb child hunger. When a child is not receiving sufficient food, it translates in a number of medical issues well into adult life. Mental distress, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or hyperlipidemia are just a few to mention.
Concentration issues, academic performance, bone density and iron levels are also highly influenced by the amount of food a child receives daily. In order to help prevent the long list of issues associated with food insecurity the American Academy of Pediatrics wishes that all patients entering a physician’s office are screened for food insecurity.
If patients are found to not be able to cope with putting sufficient and adequate nutrition on the table, there are alternatives that can help them through. For instance, access to state of federal programs which many are uninformed about. Eligible families will be further referred to such programs that can make a tremendous difference.
Among them, Snap, WIC or a number of community resources are the immediate go-to place. On the long run, the American Academy of Pediatrics hopes that the joint efforts of state and federal officials, physicians and community leaders and groups will result in the minimization of food insecurity.
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