According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, 1 in 5 children in Wisconsin struggle with hunger. The impact hunger has on a child can be devastating:
- Poor health
- Social and behavioral problems
- Poor development
- Impaired mental and physical functioning
- Chronic illness
Unfortunately when a health care professional sees some of these symptoms it’s unlikely that they will look to hunger and poor nutrition as either a cause or even a factor of the symptom.
What if instead of reaching for a prescription pad to cure a symptom, the healthcare professional can recognize that it may be caused by the poor nutrition that happens when there's a lack of adequate food resources? The cure could be as simple as making the family aware of emergency food assistance and programs that may be available to them.
The mission of the HungerCare Coalition is to educate healthcare professionals on the signs of hunger and give them the tools necessary to empower parents and children to make nutritious food choices that lead to better long-term health.
To meet this goal, an online education module is being developed that will help healthcare professionals understand the signs and impacts of hunger. We are also giving local pediatric and family medicine providers tools, created by the USDA, that have been proven to work in identifying families in need and connecting parents with the resources they need to keep their kids healthy.
If you would like to learn more about the HungerCare Coalition and join us in the fight against childhood hunger, please contact Anne Gargano Ahmed, HungerCare Coalition Coordinator at (608) 216-7245.
The coalition currently has representatives from Access Community Health, American Family Children’s Hospital, Associated Physicians, Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative, Dean Health, Group Health Cooperative, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison/Dane County Public Health, Meriter-Unity Point, UW Extension, St. Mary’s Hospital, UW Health, and the WI Obesity Prevention Network.