The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience


Children's HealthWatch publishes in-depth reports about the impact of conditions like food insecurity and housing insecurity, have on the health and well-being of young children under the age of four. In this section, you will find the most recent reports that Children's HealthWatch has published and those that feature data collected at the Philadelphia site. For the full list of Children's HealthWatch reports published at the national level or focusing on data at one of the other five sites, click here.


From Disparities to Discrimination: Getting at the Roots of Food Insecurity in America

(December 2018)

Racial and ethnic disparities in food insecurity persist in the United States. In this report, we highlight the emerging research from our Philadelphia site that documents differences in food insecurity in relation to experiences with racial and ethnic discrimination on the street, in healthcare, school and work, with the police, and in other settings. We analyze discrimination and food insecurity in the context of the racial and ethnic disparities in food insecurity in the United States and in the twenty-year history of the Children’s HealthWatch dataset from the front lines of pediatric care. Our analysis finds that lifetime experiences of discrimination are strongly linked to reports of household and child food insecurity.


(December 2014)

Earning more income should always be a step forward for working families as they strive for economic independence. A new report from Children's HealthWatch, Making SNAP Work for Families Leaving Poverty, shows that for Philadelphia families that is not always the case.  These data show that young children from families that have been cut off from SNAP or had their SNAP benefits reduced when their income exceeds eligibility limits are significantly more likely to be in poor health, be at risk for developmental delays and experience child food insecurity as compared to those whose families currently receive benefits. 

(December 2013)

A new report from Children's HealthWatch, Punishing Hard Work: The Unintended Consequences of Cutting SNAP Benefits, shows that increases in income that trigger loss of nutrition assistance benefits can leave young children in poor health and without enough food to eat.  These data suggest that young children from families that have been cut off from SNAP or had their SNAP benefits reduced when their income exceeds eligibility limits are significantly more likely to be in poor health, be at risk for developmental delays and experience child food insecurity than those whose families currently receive benefits.  Click here to view a webinar that details the report’s research findings.

(February 2012)

Every day pediatric health providers use immunizations to protect children from diseases that make them sick, damage their brains, and may even threaten their lives. The right immunizations in the right doses at the right time save untold health and education dollars, not to mention personal anguish and pain. Hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. also endanger the bodies and brains of millions of children.1 What is the right immunization to decrease a young child’s risk of ill health and slow learning? Adequate, healthy food. For 47 years American ingenuity has made that treatment efficiently available to millions of families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program), America’s strongest defense against hunger and food insecurity. About 50 percent of children in the United States are expected to live in households receiving SNAP at some point in their childhood.2 Protecting the availability and enhancing the dosage of this widely used pediatric “vaccine” should be a major public health priority.

(November 2011)

In new research conducted at the Philadelphia site of Children's HealthWatch, we replicated the 2008 study Coming Up Short: High Food Costs Outstrip Food Stamp Benefits,examining the affordability and accessibility of healthy food in three types of stores in Philadelphia.  The study showed that families of four who receive the maximum SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit experience a $2,352 annual shortfall and that more than a third of the food items were missing across all store types.  Protecting SNAP's existing entitlement structure is critical to ensuring that families continue to get the support they need to provide healthy food for their children.

(January 2011)

This report discusses how more and more families across Massachusetts and the nation are struggling to pay their rent. For some, the struggle is too great and they fall behind, with what we now know are significant costs to their health.

(June 2010)

Recent research shows that very young children in families that experience multiple hardships, suffer negative health effects, many of which can have life-long consequences. As the number and severity of the hardships increase, so too do the risks to children’s health and development.

(May 2009)

Since 1974, the Special Supplemental WIC has been protecting children’s health and development. Now, new research confirms that WIC not only improves children’s health but reduces their risk of developmental delays.

(September 2008)

Over 35.5 million people in the United States are not getting sufficient food; 12.6 million of these are children. Food stamp benefits can help reduce food insecurity, but only if available at levels that allow families to buy nutritious meals.

(October 2007)

Increases in energy prices since 2000 have raised grave concerns about the ability of low-income households to sustain a safe and healthy environment for their children. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall energy prices increased by 42.1% between 2000 and 2005

(October 2007)

The Food Stamp Program is America’s first line of defense against hunger and the foundation of our national nutrition safety network. Physicians and medical researchers also think it is one of America’s best medicines to prevent and treat childhood food insecurity.

(September 2007)

Rising energy prices affect all households, yet the impact is greatest on low-income families. The lower a family’s income, the higher the percentage of their total income they must spend for energy.


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