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By Jason Jowers, MS, MFT

Boy in Blue Long Sleeve Shirt Holding Blue and White Lunch Box and offering food to other kids

Pexels[Boy in Blue Long Sleeve Shirt Holding Blue and White Lunch Box by Yan Krukau, July 4th, 2021, CC0]

As any parent can tell you, it can be tough to get your kids to eat healthy foods. Proper nutrition is an important part of raising happy and healthy families. But what happens when proper nutrition is difficult to obtain? Not having enough food to eat is a growing problem for many families, so it can be hard to eat healthily when food is limited. Whether a family is facing a lack of access to healthy foods or affordability issues, this challenge of food insecurity puts families through tough times.

With growing food insecurity issues for families, many children are at risk of obesity and challenges developmentally. “More than 17 million children in the U.S. are at risk of obesity” which means “1 in every 3 children and adolescents (age 2 to 19) in the U.S. are at risk of obesity or being overweight (Epic Health, 2023). Food insecurity is also a growing problem for military families as well and these statistics are also in line with trends within military families around the globe.

So, what are some ways and resources that military service providers can implement to improve health and developmental outcomes for children in low-income families?

  • First, share resources like My Plate, the leading resource from USDA on creating a healthy eating routine. They share tons of resources as well as recipes and various food options that can cater to low-income families.
  • Next, there is Feeding America, an organization made up of 200 food banks across the country that are dedicated to ending hunger nationwide. Learn more about getting support from your local food bank through Feeding America.
  • Also, from Feeding America, you can send a letter to tell Congress to act now to help alleviate hunger among military families. This letter to lawmakers can help in the advocacy of providing adequate meals to our military families.

To learn more about food and nutrition insecurity and how it affects military families, be sure and watch our archived webinars within OneOp’s Food Security in Focus collection, offering live and on-demand webinars related to food security.

Also, be sure and watched the archived webinars “Understanding the Social and Structural Drivers of Food and Nutrition Insecurity” and “Increasing Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Exposure: Tools for Practitioners Serving Families Experiencing Limited Income.” These two great webinars share excellent points and ways to address food insecurity for families.

Finally, be sure and tune into our Military Family Readiness Academy 2023 “Military Families and Food Security: A Call to Action.” This year’s MFRA will consist of an asynchronous course and two live panel/discussion webinar sessions that will feature the leading Dept. of Defense experts on ways to tackle food insecurity issues within the military.