Allison Aubrey reports on National Public Radio that the AAP is now recommending that pediatricians screen all children for food insecurity. Reasons for doing so include:
- Hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity are tied to adult cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes
- Children who live in households that are food insecure, even at the lowest levels, get sick more often, recover more slowly from illness, have poorer overall health and are hospitalized more frequently.
- Children and adolescents affected by food insecurity are more likely to be iron deficient, and preadolescent boys dealing with hunger issues have lower bone density. Early childhood malnutrition also is tied to conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.
- Lack of adequate healthy food can impair a child's ability to concentrate and perform well in school and is linked to higher levels of behavioral and emotional problems from preschool through adolescence.