How food insecurity affects children and families

In this new video, Sunaina Suhag MDPediatrician at ARC East 7th discusses the effects of food insecurity for children and their families. Dr. Suhag explains that food insecurity, whether it regular or intermittent, can result in increased illness, trouble learning, behavioral issues, as well has nutritional concerns and growth issues for children, but can also affect parental wellness, which is key to growth and development of kids.

“Austin Regional Clinic is very committed to preventive wellness and well-rounded access to care, says Dr. Suhag. “So, if a family is experiencing food insecurity, we have resources that we can help with.” Watch Dr. Suhag’s video below to learn more about food insecurity or read what she has to say here:

Nutrition and food insecurity

Food insecurity has a variety of definitions; in a more urban area food insecurity is defined as an inability to access affordable food within half a mile to a mile from your home, and in a rural area it might be10 miles from your home.

Food insecurity has a variety of degrees that we might be experiencing; for some of us we might only experience food insecurity at a certain time of the year, we might only experience it once or twice a month, and for other people that might be something that they're dealing with every single day. Some families might not even realize that they're dealing with food insecurity until we ask questions about it.

Food insecurity associations

We know that an unstable access to food and childhood is associated with increased illness, more visits to the hospital, trouble learning, trouble behaving, even before we get to nutritional concerns or growth concerns. Parents usually will sacrifice their own wellness and their own nutrition before they will let their kids struggle, but we know that parental wellness is so important for the growth and development of our kids. So, it can affect families in a variety of different ways.

The first thing we have to do is make food insecurity feel like a safe thing to talk about. a lot of families at a variety of incomes can experience food insecurities and so it can be hard to realize that you're not alone. I think as pediatricians we should make sure that we ask about it regularly in wellness visits because our answer to that question can change. A family who might not have had issues affording food might now this year have come up on hard times. And we can't know that if we don't ask. Families can also make sure that they ask in their wellness visit about resources and make sure that they're open and honest.

Austin Regional Clinic is very committed to preventive wellness and well-rounded access to care. So, if a family is experiencing food insecurity, we have resources that we can help with. We can provide you access to SNAP and WIC programs. We can even write prescriptions and give you the forms that you so you don't have to fill anything out for the when you go to those offices that can be a lot less overwhelming and intimidating to get access to affordable food.

Make an appointment today

To schedule a visit with Dr. Suhag call ARC East 7th at 737-910-6700 or book an appointment online.

Tags: Food insecurity

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Food insecurity in Texas, how ARC physicians are helping

Recently, Austin Regional Clinic was included, along with others, in an article by the Texas Medical Association about food insecurity in Texas. Two of ARC’s Pediatricians were highlighted in the article, based on their experience with screening for food insecurity in ARC clinics.