This commentary, written in response to the article "Household Hardships, Public Programs, and Their Associations with the Health and Development of Very Young Children: Insights from Children's HealthWatch", highlights the importance of the research done by Children's HealthWatch in relation to childhood food insecurity. Childhood food insecurity has been linked with various adverse health effects, including undernutrition, poor or delayed child development, and social and psychological consequences. Children's HealthWatch provides important data that can be used to monitor threats to our children's well-being and address problems with effective interventions.

Author Biography

Michael Weitzman, MD is Professor of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, where he previously served as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Before that he served as the Executive Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Center for Child Health Research and Professor and Associate Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He also was Director of Maternal and Child Health for the City of Boston and Director of General Pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and Boston University School of Medicine. He has conducted research and written extensively on childhood lead poisoning, childhood effects of passive and prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke and ways to reduce exposure, numerous aspects of child nutrition and obesity, and the epidemiology of children's mental health problems, school failure, and asthma, as well as the effects of parental depression on child development. His work has focused largely on the social and environmental determinants of children’s health and he has published over 400 original articles, chapters, books and abstracts of scholarly work. Dr. Weitzman has served in advisory capacities to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as having served as a medical expert for the Department of Justice in its 2005 federal racketeering case against the Tobacco Industry. His work has resulted in his winning the Academic Pediatric Association’s most prestigious award for lifetime accomplishments in Research and he was the first recipient of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Child Environmental Health Advocacy Award.

Sherry Zhou is currently a second-year medical student at New York University School of Medicine. She spent summer 2011 studying food insecurity and obesity in a high-altitude agricultural rural mountain community in Ecuador. Sherry graduated from Wellesley College with a BA (biological chemistry) in 2010 and was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Her other research experiences include projects focused on the use of nano-biotechonology and the influence of diet on cancer.



A Response To:

Household Hardships, Public Programs, and Their Associations with the Health and Development of Very Young Children: Insights from Children’s HealthWatch by Katherine M. Joyce, Amanda Breen, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, John T. Cook, Kathleen W. Barrett, Grace Paik, Natasha Rishi, Bianca Pullen, Ashley Schiffmiller, and Deborah A. Frank.