USDA: More than 12% of households with children in Georgia lack sufficient food

nicola chin morehouse
Dr. Nicola Chin, assistant professor of pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine, and associate medical director, Morehouse Healthcare at Howell Mill. (Courtesy of Morehouse School of Medicine)

The Food Research & Action Center reports that food insufficiency has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and has affected some populations more severely than others as a result of systemic inequalities.

According to the USDA, 12% of Georgia households with children do not have the resources to provide enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle for all family members. The Atlanta Community Food Bank reported seeing a 300% increase in inquiries from people seeking food assistance during the pandemic.

Research shows that consistent lack of food can have serious negative short-term and long-term impacts on a child’s wellbeing. Children without enough to eat can tend to be sick more often, recover from illness more slowly and be hospitalized more frequently. They can also experience lifelong consequences including developmental delays, poor educational outcomes and mental health disorders.

Dr. Nicola Chin is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine and she joined “Morning Edition” to inform listeners of the resources available to address food insecurity and how to spot signs of malnutrition in children.

“We want to emphasize, there is no excuse for child hunger when solutions exist,” said Chin.

March was National Nutrition Month and the Food Research & Action Center, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation teamed up to create a convenient toolkit to increase awareness of child hunger and help pediatricians and families connect to nutrition resources.

More resources for food access in Georgia can be found through the state’s Department of Community Affairs.