Quick Way to Detect U.S. Child Hunger

BALTIMORE, July 2 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say asking parents just two simple questions about the cost of food can better identify families in which children face hunger.

Lead author Erin Hager of the University of Maryland Medical Center says unlike hungry children in developing nations, U.S. children have access to cheap, nutrient-deprived foods that can leave then malnourished.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 30,000 families nationwide. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found about a one-quarter of the families suffered from hunger.

The study found 92.5 percent of hungry families agreed with the statement: “Within the past 12 months we worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more,” and 81.9 percent said “yes” to: “Within the past 12 months the food we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more.”

Currently, many used the federal government’s time-consuming, 18-question Household Food Security Survey. Instead, the researchers suggest social workers and healthcare professionals use just the two questions.

“This can immediately be used by any social service agency or any clinic to more quickly get hungry children connected with the assistance they need to stay nourished, healthy and developmentally on track,” Hager says in a statement.

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