Extension leads formation of coalition to fight hunger in Oregon's children

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Economists estimate that the costs associated with childhood poverty come to $500 billion per year.
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New program has trained hundreds of health care workers to recognize signs of hunger and learn intervention strategies

Oregon has one of the leading hunger rates in the nation. Poorly nourished children are at particularly high risk of suffering from health problems and related emotional and psychological issues. Economists estimate that the costs to the U.S. associated with childhood poverty come to $500 billion per year. (This estimate reflects reduced productivity and economic output, increased costs of crime and increased health care costs.)

OSU Extension nutrition educator Anne Hoisington headquartered inside the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, led the formation of the Childhood Hunger Coalition to combat this problem in Oregon. Hoisington, along with several partner health care agencies and organizations, has trained hundreds of health care workers to recognize signs of hunger and learn intervention strategies that are effective in helping children and families at risk for hunger.

One significant outcome of the coalition’s efforts is delivery of a five-unit online course on hunger intervention strategies, available through OSU Ecampus. The course is designed specifically for the Oregon medical community. Since it became available in October 2008, 728 nurses, physicians, dietitians, and other health care practitioners have taken the course. In follow-up surveys, 66 percent indicated they made changes in their work or patient care processes as a result of taking the course.

Contact: Anne Hoisington

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