AB-1952: Social Services: Access to Food

Session: 2017-2018
Author: Mayes
Status: Dead
AAP-CA Position: Support
To view the status of this bill on the State Website, click here.

This bill would create a work group that would establish a broad-based plan for a hunger free California.

AAP Positional Letter



June 13, 2018

The Honorable Chad Mayes
State Capitol, Room 4098
Sacramento, CA 94249

The Honorable Joaquin Arambula
State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249

The Honorable Marc Steinorth
State Capitol, Room 5128
Sacramento, CA 94249

RE: AB 1952 (Mayes/Arambula/Steinorth) Social Services: Access to Food
AAP-CA Position: Support

Dear Assemblymembers Mayes, Arambula, and Steinorth,

The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, strongly supports proposed legislation AB 1952 (Mayes/Arambula/Steinorth) to create a work group that would establish a broad-based plan for a hunger free California.

Nearly one in four California children are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable and consistent access to nutritionally adequate food. Children who are hungry have difficulty paying attention in class and have more behavioral problems. Food insecure children also have more health problems, including upper respiratory infections, iron deficiency anemia, headaches, and developmental delay. Research in child brain development has shown that even one experience of hunger as a child can impact the health and mental well-being of a person into their adult years. Research has similarly demonstrated the long-term academic and economic consequences of how hunger limits a person’s life chances.

Hunger, food insecurity, and lack of healthy food choices also contribute to our state’s high childhood obesity rate. Childhood obesity rate in California currently is 16.6% percent for children 2-4 years of age and 31.2 % for children 10-17 years of age. Consumption of unhealthy foods increases the likelihood of developing chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease, which affect almost 15 million Californians. Medical care and treatment costs is estimated to be $37.1 billion in California each year.

Addressing food insecurity in California would result in fewer visits to the doctor’s office/hospital for health concerns, removal of the life-limiting effects that hunger, food insecurity and lack of health food choices pose on children, slow the devastating rate of obesity, and decrease behavioral problems, which would allow for less time taken away from valuable teaching and optimization of classroom time that is essential for the continued advancement of the intellectual minds of our children.

AB 1952 would identify many of the challenges and barriers to making sure our children have adequate nutrition and seek ways to ameliorate those issues.

Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 statewide strongly support your proposed legislation AB 1952. Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.

Sincerely,

Kris Calvin
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California

cc: AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne; Policy Analysts Katherine Wu, M.D. and Sara-Jane Onyeama, M.D.