Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Good nutrition considers the quality and quantity of the foods consumed. Good nutrition and healthy growth established in the first thousand days of a child’s life have benefits that will last for a lifetime.

“Nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese.” -

“Household food insecurity was related to significantly worse general health, some acute and chronic health problems, worse health care access, and heightened emergency department use for children,”
- Taryn Morrissey, PhD

Healthy eating promotes stable energy, strong bones and teeth, improved mental health, healthy weight, and prevention of chronic diseases.

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Food Insecurity

Unfortunately, 1 in 7 U.S. children lives in a household with food insecurity. Being unable to afford or obtain nutritional food has become a broader issue impacting urban, suburban, and rural areas alike. Food insecurity can lead to stress and anxiety within families. Poor nutrition and growth are related to decreased cognition, motor skills, and attention problems.

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Review the page for information on the role primary care pediatricians and public health professionals play in screening and identifying children and families at risk for and experiencing food insecurity, connecting families to needed community resources, and advocating for policies that support access to adequate and healthy foods.


Good nutrition is key for pediatric obesity prevention. Review the AAP Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight for professional education, parent and patient resources, and programs that help encourage an overall healthy lifestyle.

AAP statements



AAP recommends pediatricians promote nutrition and mitigate food insecurity at the practice level and beyond.

  • Conducts screenings for food insecurity
    • A 2-question validated screening tool
      1. Within the past 12 months, we worried whether our food would run out before we got money to buy more. (Yes or No)
      2. Within the past 12 months, the food we bought just didn’t last and we didn’t have money to get more. (Yes or No)
  • Educate pregnant women about breastfeeding
    • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life
    • Continuation of breastfeeding after complementary foods have been introduced for the first two years of life and beyond, if mutually desired by parent and child and family has social supports in place
    • Referrals to organizations that support breastfeeding. Visit the AAP Breastfeeding page for more information.
  • Refer families to community resources
Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics