#1 Health Risk for Children: Poverty

1 in 5 children in the U.S are living in poverty.   The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released recommendations urging doctors to ask at all well-child visits whether families are able to make ends meet.  Poverty has been found to impact children’s health and development significantly, and pediatricians have a unique role in identifying poverty related stress.

An individual’s health is linked largely not only to the clinical care they receive from their physician, but to where they live, work and play.  To whether or not they have stable housing or if there is enough food to eat.  The AAP is hoping that a single question “Do you have difficulty making ends meet at the end of the month?” will help identify families in need so they can get access to available services in their communities.

HWCLI recognizes that physicians often times do not have the staff or resources to work with patients once they have identified poverty as an issue, which is why Community Based Organizations have and important role to play when it comes to addressing the social determinants of health.  HWCLI and our partners will soon be piloting projects throughout Long Island to help support pediatricians with the infrastructure needed to integrate screening for food insecurity and poverty into their practice.   These projects will create a link between the patient, their doctor, and community services available to help address their needs and ultimately improve health outcomes.

You can read the full report from AAP on poverty and child health HERE