Author: Danielle L Cullen MD, MPH – Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
One in five children in the US do not get the food that they need on a daily basis to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. How is it that in a country of wealth and excess, children’s basic needs for life are not being met?
During the academic year, 21.5 million children receive and rely on free and reduced priced school breakfast and lunch as their primary source of nutrition. While summer should be a carefree time of outdoor play, with the absence of school food programs, it is instead too often a time of hunger. Federal Summer Nutrition Programs through the USDA provide meals to children during the summer months. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness of these programs, they are severely underutilized. Only one in seven children who receive free or reduced-price school meals also participate in summer meal programs.(1)