Skip to main content

Take the Lead: Improving food security changes kids’ health and future success

Changing kids’ health not only means providing access to the best health services and medical treatments, but also addressing issues that impede their ability to live a healthy life. When you support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, you do both – creating a healthier, happier future for children, families and communities for years to come.

Access to nutritious food is a critical social determinant of health. Food insecurity can be a short- or long-term condition and is influenced by many multidimensional factors such as income, employment status, race and ethnicity, disability or environment. The impacts of food insecurity on children can be devastating, with links to higher risk factors for chronic health conditions, such as obesity and developmental and mental health challenges. In some cases, food security status is more strongly predictive of chronic illness than income. Income is only significantly associated with 3 of the 10 chronic diseases—hepatitis, arthritis and chronic lung disease — while food insecurity is significantly associated with all 10.

This means that programs addressing food insecurity offered by member hospitals have both a short and long-term positive impact on children’s health. They help meet a child’s and family’s immediate need for healthy food and nutrition, while helping to lower their long-term risk of developing a chronic health condition.

According to the CDC, healthy eating can reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, iron deficiency and prevent dental cavities.

Healthy eating also affects a child’s ability to learn and their performance in school. Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory), reduced school absenteeism and improved mood. Adequate hydration can also improve brain function in children and adolescents.

That’s why so many of our member hospitals prioritize food insecurity programs and resources – more than 96%!

These programs are a critical way of changing kids’ health now to change the future. And that’s what Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is all about.