We know that obesity is an epidemic in America.
But what may not be as obvious is that obesity and hunger are linked. The same overweight child I see in my pediatric practice at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland is often hungry too.
Recently, a pediatrician in training came to me troubled by a mother and three children, all overweight. In taking their history, it was clear that the family diet had lots of junk food and few fruits and vegetables.
The new doctor was frustrated that this mother wasn't creating a healthier environment for her kids. But when we dug deeper, the mother told us that when their food stamps ran out, the family would go up to a week without meals. In fact, they hadn't eaten that day.
We gave them two bags of groceries. The mother burst into tears. The kids examined the bag to see what was for dinner. And the new doctor learned that healthy food is a luxury.