Disclaimer: Moving Health Care Upstream is a collaborative effort originally co-led by Nemours Children’s Health System (Nemours) and the Center for Healthier Children, Families & Communities at the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA). The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Nemours, UCLA or the Moving Health Care Upstream initiative.
Authors: Vy Oxman and Roshelle Payes
The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious impacts on the health and well-being of families and children, particularly among Black and Latino communities. Unemployment and poverty exacerbated the twin epidemics of food insecurity and obesity for children. As of June 2020, an estimated 14,000,000 children were not getting enough to eat. Research also shows an increase in childhood obesity since the onset of the pandemic that has widened pre-existing disparities. Additionally, the pandemic severely impacted the early care and education (ECE) sector, as child care programs faced lengthy closures, reduced enrollment, and financial constraints. In response, the President and Congress increased funding for federal programs that address food insecurity, early childhood, and the child care sector through the American Rescue Plan and other COVID-19 packages.[i] As the sector begins to recover, we must turn our focus to improving children’s health and well-being and addressing the inequities in communities most impacted by the pandemic. We urge Congress and the Biden Administration to focus on quality improvements in the ECE settings, not only for school readiness but to improve the health, nutrition and wellness of children. [Read more…]