A well child visit is a unique opportunity for pediatricians to engage families about a child’s well-being and check for any underlying causes of illness, such as food insecurity — or unreliable access to affordable, nutritious food — in the home.
However, food insecurity screening is not universally conducted because, among other reasons: 1) clinicians do not feel equipped to connect families with the appropriate resources or 2) it requires time or additional personnel in an already limited resource environment. And that is a missed opportunity, says Dr. Ellen Barnidge, associate professor of behavioral science and health education at Saint Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice.
“Given the adverse health outcomes associated with food insecurity and the likelihood of positive effects associated with connection to food resources, the benefits of food insecurity screening very likely outweigh the costs,” says Dr. Barnidge in a recently published Viewpoint in JAMA Pediatrics, co-authored with Dr. Sandra Stenmark, of Kaiser Permanente and Dr. Hilary Seligman, of the Center for Vulnerable Populations as part of the NOPREN Food Safety Net Clinical Linkages Working Group.
The authors challenge health care systems and community food assistance providers to better connect the dots through:
Read the full Viewpoint at bit.ly/insecurefood