MADISON, Wis. — One Madison-area health care provider will begin asking patients of all ages about hunger.

The Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/2rUvXiU ) reported that on Tuesday UW Health providers in Madison will start asking all emergency room and hospital patients if they’re worried about having enough food. Patients who are experiencing food insecurity will then be directed to food pantries and other assistance.

“Individuals with food insecurity and chronic hunger have more poor health,” said Cassie Vanderwall, a clinical nutritionist and dietetic internship program manager at UW Health. “We’re all about not just dealing with the fruit of the issue but really getting to the root.”

The hospital will also start providing children with free meals during the summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will reimburse the hospital for the food. The meals will be offered daily for pediatric outpatients and siblings or children or inpatients until Aug. 25.

No registration or income check will be required to qualify for a meal.

“We are assuming that if they ask for a meal, they need a meal,” Vanderwall said.

According to hunger relief organization Feeding America, about one in nine adults and one in six children in Dane County have food insecurity.

“Adults are also very vulnerable to food insecurity,” said Anne Gargano Ahmed, coordinator of the HungerCare Coalition at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. “Oftentimes, it’s the parents who skip meals so the kids can eat. Seniors are particularly at risk of food security, and it can have a lot of health effects.”


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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