Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Lack of food for kids ongoing problem in US

I have a strange and wonderful relationship with Fox blowhard Bill O'Reilly. Before roundly scorning him, I watched his top-rated show for a few years to get the gist. He had many similar experiences to mine growing up, he's funny, he's bossy, and he's adamant.

The adamant part can be a problem. He got in a food fight with Kirsten Powers over whether there are starving kids in the US. He insisted with all the social programs--food "stamps," WIC, etc, if kids were going hungry, it was the parents' fault. Of course, that does not make them any less hungry, but that was his stance.

Now comes the American Academy of Pediatrics--please note, Bill--recommending that pediatricians screen all kids for food insecurity.  The doctors, according to the AAP, need to spend time familiarizing themselves with all the social resources and advocate for access to nutritious food.

Fifteen million US children live in households still struggling with hunger. True, the number of children regularly getting enough food is the highest since 2007. This is a testament in favor of WIC, SNAP and school lunch and breakfast programs. But fifteen million is a lot of hungry kids--some of whom only get food when at school. In some areas, summer programs to feed them have been put in place.

Kids in food insecure households get sick more often, recover more slowly and learn less well. They are likely to be iron-deficient.

Studies show this insecurity has left the confines of the inner city and reached into the suburbs and rural areas.

Pediatricians need to take a proactive stance, the report says.

Pediatricians--and maybe O'Reilly, too? He is usually all about kids--why not this time?

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