Food insecurity is a major problem in the UK. It has been both highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly affects children and young people (CYP). The effects of inadequate nutrition manifest themselves in all stages of child development and adversely affect health and educational outcomes. Healthcare professionals working with CYP can address food insecurity at individual, local community, organisational and national levels. The government plays an important role in monitoring and responding to food insecurity, supporting CYP most in need.
This paper summarises how food insecurity can be identified and approached by healthcare professionals in clinical consultations, including the use of screening tools and awareness of risk factors that signpost family food insecurity. Examples of services and clinician-assisted referrals to support vulnerable patients are provided, alongside suggested methods to implement further education for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.
- child health
- child health services
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