700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Food Insecurity: The Hidden Epidemic Someone You Know is Facing

Jan 28, 2020
Teenage girl looking into the refrigerator

Does putting food on the table worry you? If you are living in America, 1 in 8 of you will answer yes. Even if it isn’t you, chances are it’s happening to someone you know.

Every county in every state in America has families who are experiencing food insecurity, defined as a lack of access to enough food for all household members on a day-to-day basis. Families across the country are running out of money to buy food or running out of food before they can get more money.

What Does the Face of Hunger Look Like?

It may surprise you to know that more people in the U.S. face food insecurity than the entire population of Canada. The highest rates of food insecurity are in rural areas, and hunger in the suburbs is growing faster than it is in the city.

People may assume that landing a job means it’s no longer a problem to put food on the table. This isn’t always the case. In fact, most families who access food pantries have at least one working adult in the household.

How Can People Who Lack Enough Food Be Overweight?

Food insecure households may be forced to rely on less nutritious, inexpensive foods and may not have easy access to fresh produce. The nearest grocery store may amount to nothing more than a convenience store or a fast food restaurant.

As a pediatrician, these are some of the myths I try to debunk in my office. One more myth is that there is very little someone can do to help.

How Can Someone Help?

  1. Volunteer at a local food pantry. Helping nurture your child’s compassion and empathy for others is a very important social skill that is often overlooked. Feeding America has an online list of food banks across the country.
  2. Instead of donating money, consider donating food. Churches, local pantries and shelters are good drop-off points for food.
  3. Have your child start a donation jar at home. A donation jar is a great visual reminder for kids of how to budget money, how to save for others, and how to help the community.
  4. Planting a family garden or donating excess fresh produce is also a great way to pay it forward. Everyone wins.
Children’s Advocacy Project (CAP4Kids)
For more information on community resources for children and families, click here.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Emily Decker, MD
Primary Care Pediatrics

Dr. Emily is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a strong interest in child advocacy, and serves as the medical director for CAP4Kids Columbus.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.