A stunning 16 million children are going hungry in the United States

A stunning 16 million children are going hungry in the United States

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging doctors to do something about it.

Hunger is a problem that we all know ravages third world nations — but if you think it’s not happening in our own backyard, you’re sorely mistaken: 16 million kids live in households without enough food, says one organization.

As we recently reported, the American Academy of Pediatrics is pushing doctors to screen early for signs that a child is living with “food insecurity” — basically, when he or she doesn’t know where the next meal is coming from. And there are about 16 million children who live in homes that don’t have enough food, according to the AAP.

The AAP believes doctors are the best opportunity to reduce that number, and they are asking them to start screening children during checkups to see if they might be an insecure food environment by asking a couple simple questions: do you ever worry about food running out, and do groceries last long enough before money comes in to purchase more. If they find a child who answers yes, they an talk to the parents about options at food banks and other assistance — something they are often too embarrassed to bring up on their own, or may not know about.

That figure is a sobering statistic, but the reality is that there isn’t that much research into hunger in America, something that most Americans seem to think isn’t that much of a problem.

Even if these families are able to find food when needed, usually it means they need to sacrifice something else that’s vital. About 30 percent of families in environments of food insecurity had to choose between buying food and getting necessary medical care.

The AAP’s news release can be found here.

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