Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quality Improvement to Support Food-Insecure Families

Deputy Editor Dr. Alex Kemper offers a preview of a Quality Report being early released this week from our August issue.

By: Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS 

Photo by Toshimasa Ishibashi via Flickr
Here are some startling facts from the US Department of Agriculture released in 2013:

  • 17.6 million households (14.5%) had food insecurity at some time during 2012. This is a stable number since 2008.
  • 3.9 million households with children were food insecure at some time during 2012.

There is ample evidence that food insecurity can have a profound impact on the development and wellbeing of children. Although pediatricians cannot solve this major problem alone, we are certainly not helpless. For example, we can advocate for policy to help families either individually or in partnership with the organizations that represent us, like the American Academy of Pediatrics. We can also work to actively identify families with food insecurity and refer them to available resources (e.g., government assistance programs, local food banks).

Today we are releasing a Quality Report by Dr. Andrew Beck and colleagues (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3845) demonstrating how a successful collaboration between pediatricians and community partners was developed to help food-insecure families and their infants have better access to infant formula, educational materials, and clinic and community resources.

Read this and be inspired. Do you know who in your practice faces food insecurity? What do you do to address the problem?

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