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To ensure a healthier future, IU Health said it will keep up its dialogue with local communities



Indianapolis, Indiana – In order to combat food insecurity around Indianapolis, IU Health is urging reform.

Communities who are concerned about food deserts and how they affect children are being sued by IU Health. Although IU Health thinks it might take some time to end food insecurity, they are closely collaborating with regional organizations that can assist in bringing about significant changes in children’s lives.

“Nutrition plays a part in every piece of their life, so attention, sleep, social stuff, school, and behavior,” Taylor Parrish, a registered dietitian at Riley Hospital for Children, said.

One of the least healthy counties in the state, Marion County has nearly one in five children who are food insecure, according to Feeding America.

According to Parrish, it begins with the parents.

“Part of the lack of education is just adults and how we respond with food, what our relationship is with food, so we never stop trying new foods. I still try new foods as a dietitian, and as a mom,” Parrish said.

“It can seem so complicated, but it’s really not. How do you teach people about that?” Parrish says.

IU Health is stepping in to help with that.

To bridge the gap, they are collaborating with institutions including the Flanner House, Ivy Tech, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

A child’s nutrition might potentially shorten their lifespan by many years, according to Jamal Smith, director of government affairs at IU Health.

“Active kids become active adults and the verses is also true. That impact that you have in terms of your nutritional intake as a young person certainly contributes to the impact of your livelihood as you get older,” Smith said.

According to Smith, there are several solutions to alleviate food insecurity.

“Grocery stores, versions of grocery stores, and the produce of the retail that those grocery stores would have, urban farming, and food pantries are ideas that are constantly tossed out,” Smith said.

He believes there will soon be some fresh changes.

“It is an ‘as soon as possible’ kind of timeline for us, and we understand the urgency of it for sure,” Smith said.

To ensure a healthier future, IU Health said it will keep up its dialogue with local communities.