Children’s HealthWatch and Principal Investigator, Dr. Mariana Chilton, featured in the New York Times article on pediatricians screening children for food insecurity.

Pediatricians Are Asked to Join Fight Against Childhood Hunger

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Friday urged pediatricians to screen all patients for food insecurity and to refer parents to appropriate agencies so children do not go hungry.

“It’s high time,” Mariana Chilton, the director ofCenter for Hunger-Free Communities at Drexel University, said of the new policy. “We know food insecurity drives up health care costs, and is associated with more hospitalizations, and is related to poor childhood development and health.”

Few pediatricians research childhood hunger, said Dr. Chilton, a principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch, a national network tracking the impact of public assistance programs on pediatric health.

“It’s been very difficult to get the broader pediatrician community to pay attention to food insecurity, and yet it’s one of the most important vital signs of a child’s health and well-being,” Dr. Chilton said.

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

Click here to read the full article.