We’ve carefully selected these nonprofits because they’re actively working to improve kids’ health. Nominate a notable nonprofit by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to regular meals is something many of us take for granted. But child hunger and poor nutrition have been a global problem for a long time. When a country lacks resources, is at war, or doesn’t have policies in place to help, children go hungry.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 8 percent of U.S. households with children struggled to feed everyone in the home regularly during 2016. And a 2017 report from the United Nations found that global hunger is rising. About 155 million children under 5 are too short for their age, and 52 million weigh much less than they should for their height. Stunted growth and low weight are both a result of not getting enough meals with the nutritional elements needed for proper health.
Hunger isn’t the only challenge we face. Childhood obesity in many countries is a major cause of chronic health issues like asthma, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s.
When governments don’t have the resources or programs to help, nonprofits can provide valuable assistance. These organizations are working hard to raise awareness and get food to children in need.
Action for Healthy Kids
A child doesn’t have to be underweight to be undernourished. Children who are overweight or obese as a result of poor eating habits can also lack important nutrients from eating processed foods. Action for Healthy Kids focuses on the childhood obesity epidemic. The organization works to bring more physical activity and nutrition lessons to schools in the United States. It provides schools with grants, volunteers, and information needed to start and expand healthy eating programs and physical education.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes all kids deserve access to a healthy school. Key ingredients to a healthy school are nutritious food options and regular physical activity. The organization celebrates those schools that’ve met requirements to be considered America’s healthiest schools. It also aims to help more schools reach this goal. The nonprofit works with businesses and communities to make sure kids are surrounded by a healthy environment. If you’re curious about which schools are healthiest, Alliance for a Healthier Generation has a full list divided by state.
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Founded in 1971, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was one of the first organizations to raise awareness about the problems in America’s food system. The nonprofit has been fighting for years to educate the public. It advocates for government policies that protect people from ingredients known to have negative consequences on health, like artificial colors, trans fats, and added sodium and sugar. Children, who are the most vulnerable, are often targeted by companies with ads for junk food or sugary drinks. CSPI has fought to decrease marketing of junk food to children. The nonprofit also works to get soda and unhealthy snacks removed from schools.
UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity works from several angles — like marketing, community and school initiatives, economics, and lawmaking — to promote health and reduce childhood obesity. this nonprofit is most proud of its efforts to combine science with public policy in order to improve health globally. Ongoing campaigns include fighting to reduce the stigma of obesity, getting healthier food in schools and day cares, and reducing the amount of sugary drinks Americans consume.
National Farm to School Network
The National Farm to School Network works to bring local fresh foods to student lunchrooms. The program encourages schools to get food from local growers, or start their own gardens where students learn about agriculture and health. As of 2014, there are participating schools all over the United States. Students as young as preschool age can plant food. This helps set them up for healthier habits.
No Kid Hungry
Not having enough food during the day can affect the way a child learns and behaves in school. According to No Kid Hungry, about 13 million American kids face hunger. The nonprofit doesn’t just help kids while they’re in school. It also provides parents with the resources they need to successfully feed their kids a healthy diet. The Cooking Matters program teaches parents how to shop on their budget and cook healthy meals with the food they buy.
Feeding America works nationwide toward ending hunger in the United States. The nonprofit operates by connecting people in need with one of its network of food banks. There, they can get access to healthy meals and learn about additional resources to help keep food on the table. Feeding America also works with farmers, retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and food service companies to catch food waste before it’s thrown out. Instead, the nonprofit distributes it to those in need.
Many low-income communities are food deserts. This means people lack access to fresh produce and other healthy foods in their area. Instead of grocery stores, there are corner stores and fast-food places. Wholesome Wave wants to make healthy food affordable. The organization doubles the value of food stamps when they’re used on produce. It also works with doctors to prescribe produce and healthy eating.